An Australian takes pink

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

What a stage today! The race was turned upside down within 20km of the stage start.

Once upon a time
It’s the 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia and a promising rider has just won the pink jersey. Mapei rider Cadel Evans took the overall lead after a strong rider in the hardest mountain stage of that year’s Giro. But the lead did not last long, the next day he cracked on the final climb of Stage 17, the Passo Coé, losing 15 minutes to Paulo Savoldelli in the last 9km.

Now for Porte
So what of Richie Porte’s chances to hold on to pink? He has a lead of 1.42 over David Arroyo and Robert Kiserlovski is also within two minutes. On the climb to Monte Terminillo he lost 30 seconds to the main GC riders, lost six seconds to Kiserlovski and gained a bit of time on Arroyo. Clearly with a jersey to defend everything changes and he has a decent team in support. He was climbing well in the Tour of Romandie. But a three week tour, backloaded with the Zoncolan is something else. But I can’t look beyond this.

Sorry if you wanted a more precise look at the possibilities but if this Giro teaches us anything, it is that anything can happen. Australians can at least dream that Porte might triumph, and that if he does not then Evans might be thereabouts too.

Indeed I don’t think it’s “game over” yet for Evans, Vinokourov, Nibali and the other one-time favourites. Their deficit will only force them into audacious moves, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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