The Giro d’Italia 2008 so far…

incredible photo of “Il grillo” Paolo Bettini, il campione del mondo, courtesy flickr user rattodisabina

I haven’t commented much on the Giro so far, so this post will serve as a massive brain dump covering the first week plus in Italy- in advance of this weekend’s assault on the mountains.

  • Yeah Slipstream! First maglia rosa in twenty years for Christian Vande Velde! I was really happy for the argyles. They rode like veritable hellbats. Watching Millar pop off the back told all the story needed about the effort they put in during the race.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see two Astana riders on the podium. Which two? Your guess is as good as mine, but all three look like they’re going to be competitive form come this weekend. Contador, obviously, looks like the man to beat. His performance in the time trial was proof enough of that. Kloden also looks solid so he’s obviously in play and Leipheimer proved to be such a great “late” race racer in the Tour last year I can’t count him out of anything. I have to think they’re really going to control the race over the weekend. I’ll actually be stunned if one of them doesn’t win Stage 16
  • Dave Z. cracking up the way he did was a real bummer. I hope he’ll be ready for the Tour. He looked like he was in supreme amounts of pain. No fun there.
  • Speaking of cracking up, I can’t even begin to count the number of riders who have hit pavement so far. It seems like every day someone is riding into the finish with a ripped kit and some road rash. That’s even if they make it to the finish. Stage 11 was exceptionally painful, with big names crashing out on the narrow, slick and steep roads. Of special note was Visconti, the maglia rosa, crashing, getting attacked and then heading to the hospital for x-rays once he crossed the line.
  • Could High Road be having a better year? Cavendish won a stage, the first by a Brit in forever and continued the team’s string of successes so far this season. Now if big George could just sweep up another stage win at the Tour, they could wrap the whole season up in a bow.

That’ll do for now. I’ll crank through some more commentary next Tuesday, after the carnage of this weekend. Should be fun times…

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