Another great day in the Giro d’Italia.
Simoni and Garzelli, two former winners of the Giro went out early on the second mountain and way ahead of the Groppo Maglia Rose with Cunego. The SAECO team must have decided that Cunego is going to be their main man this year, because they stayed back with him rather than supporting Simoni. Cunego let other teams lead, knowing that the other guys high up in the GC wouldn’t let Simoni get too far ahead. He just paced the front of the pack, and when fifth place Cioni attacked, he went up behind him, and then beside him to show him he’s just as strong, and then back behind him again. Actually, I sort of wondered at his strategy there – if he was being the good team mate for Simoni, he probably could have let Cioni go. Cioni wasn’t a threat to his position, and by staying with him Cunego wasn’t helping or hurting Simoni, but he was taking a chance that he’d help Gonchar or Popovich get closer to Simoni. But this is Cunego’s tour, not Simoni. I even have to wonder if Simoni’s break was sanctioned by the team, or just something he did because he’s pissed at Cunego.
One of the interesting things that happened was when Garzelli and Simoni suddenly accelerated on the mountain where it was very narrow and crowded with spectators. Either because of the crowds or just the unexpectedness of the acceleration, the motorbikes ahead of them couldn’t accelerate out of their way, and Garzelli actually had to break to avoid one. Afterwards they both rode up between a bunch of the motorbikes until there was only one or two ahead of them.
The spectators on the mountains were nuts. I thought the ones in the Tour de France where nuts, but these guys take the cake. One of them looked like he was cursing out Simoni for being up ahead of Cunego, and many of them would run along actually *in* the back of riders. It’s a wonder they don’t knock over more riders. I saw Cunego giving dirty looks to some of the spectators who were giving him a shove – the rider probably isn’t penalized for that, but it could throw off their balance or something.
Anyway, the days results are in, and unless something very strange happens on the final cruise into Milano tomorrow, Cunego will get a richly deserved win in the Giro, and will be something to watch out for in the Tour de France.