Discovery Channel Team Report
The Discovery Channel team's Paolo Savoldelli won his second Tour of Italy in the last four years today in Milan in the closest finish in nearly 30 years as he maintained his 28 second lead over Lampre's Gilberto Simoni. Fassa Bortolo's Alessandro Petacchi won the expected sprint finish in the final 119 kilometer stage, with Savoldelli finishing 24th and Simoni 39th. The first 145 riders were credited with the same time as Petacchi - 3 hours, 24 minutes and 8 seconds.
Savoldelli's victory of less than 30 seconds was the closest at the Giro since 1976 when Felice Gimondi topped Johan De Muynck by just 19 seconds.
The victory was the first Giro win for the team in its initial participation in the Italian Grand Tour. The team has won six Tours de France (1999-2004) with Lance Armstrong and one Tour of Spain (2003) with Roberto Heras.
"Finishing up any big Tour is a bit anti climatic," said Sean Yates, the team's assistant sports manager. "You're hyped up for three weeks and then all of a sudden, it's over. It almost feels like you can go another three weeks."
Yesterday, Savoldelli salvaged his victory by remaining calm on the second to last climb of the stage when Simoni made up his 2:09 deficit at the summit of the Colle de Finestre and became the race leader on the road. However, Savoldelli expectedly gained time on the descent and then rode a solid final climb to Sestriere while Simoni struggled in the final kilometers to remain in second.
"Yesterday was a long day," Yates said. "We didn't get to the hotel to half past nine and then still had lots of rushing around to do. We were all still flustered."
Today's final stage was mainly ridden at a parade's pace until the race hit the final 12, 4.8 km finishing circuits in Milan.
"Everyone did a great job," Yates added. "We knew it wasn't over until we finished up today and hit the line with one lap to go, as that was where the official time was taken. And with one to go, we had Michael Barry at the head with Paolo on his wheel, as we knew one crash or something like that could potentially lose it all. After that, everyone sat up and that was it."
Milan. It's customary for the winning team to hand out glasses of champagne to every team in the race - "We had two bottles for every team and with two cars in the race, we had 50 bottles in our car," he said. "Then we hit a curb and got a flat tire." After fixing the flat, Yates followed local police to get back into the race but took a wrong turn and ended up in front of the race and was forced to pull over and wait for the group to pass. "Good to have that happen on the last stage and not in the mountains," Yates said.
Yates had his own adventure on the road to
Click here for complete stage 20 results and final overall rankings.