Parra Wins Stage 13 of Giro, Savoldelli Seizes Maglia Rosa After Basso Cracks
Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel) has donned the maglia rosa. The 2002 Giro champion assumed the race leadership after Ivan Basso (CSC) cracked on the final climb of Stage 13, the mountainous, 218-km ride from Mezzocorona to Ortisei. Ivan Parra (Selle Italia) won the stage in 6:31:34, with Juan Manuel Garate (Saunier Duval) outsprinting Jose Rujano (Selle Italia) for second at 0:23.
The stage was ridden on a warm, sunny day. After a series of abortive sallies, Parra, Ruben Lobato (Saunier Duval), and Tadej Valjavec (Phonak) escaped. Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel) joined the trio, and eventually, 16 chasers bridged up to the break. CSC rode tempo to keep the break within reach.
At 50 km, the break led the bunch by 3:35. By the time that the fugitives reached the Passo di Sella (106 km), their advantage had grown to 7:45. CSC began to push the pace, and the break?s lead dropped to 6:15 by the midway point in the stage.
By 117 km, the break?s lead was back over seven minutes. On the Passo del Erbe (161 km), Damiano Cunego and Gilberto Simoni (both from Lampre) attacked and broke up the maglia rosa group. Initially, Basso had no teammates, although a regrouping of the chase group changed that state of affairs. Frank Schleck and Stage 8 winner David Zabriskie came to the maglia rosa?s rescue. Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas), Savoldelli (Discovery Channel), Sergei Gontchar (Domina Vacanze), and others were all in the maglia rosa group, which trailed Cunego and Simoni by 0:30.
One km from the summit, Cunego and Simoni were reeled in. The break was 5:42 ahead of the maglia rosa group. CSC led the chase group down a three-km descent, up the Passo Eores, and down a 25-km descent to the Val d?Isarco. At the base of the day?s last climb, a nine-km ascent to Pontives, the bunch led the maglia rosa group by 3:30.
Pietro Caucchioli (Credit Agricole) made the first move, but Garate covered it easily. Rujano followed with two attacks, but he could not escape. Then, Parra attacked and opened a gap. Caucchioli, Garate, Rujano, and Valjevic set off in pursuit.
Behind, Francisco Vila (Lampre) paced the maglia rosa group. Rider after rider slid out of the back. Simoni attacked, and Savoldelli followed. Savoldelli countered and dropped Simoni. Di Luca caught up to Simoni, while Basso struggled home alone. Il Falco finished at 4:00, with Simoni and Di Luca crossing the finish line at 4:07 and Basso at 5:08.
By the time the heads of state rode in, Parra was enjoying his victory. At the top of the climb, Parra had 0:15 on the four pursuers, and he widened the gap on the descent. Parra won after a nearly 200-km escape.
What happened to Basso? ?It was a very difficult stage for me,? the CSC captain said. I felt sick and had a stomach ache right from the start, but I hoped it would get better as the stage went on. Well, it didn?t and I really suffered on the last climb.
?I tried to limit the damage, and compared to how bad I felt, the time loss wasn?t too bad. Now, I?m hoping for a speedy recovery, so I can attempt to recapture the jersey.?
Given Basso?s stomach problems, it is miraculous that he is still in position to regain the jersey. If his stomach is not ready for Stage 14, however, he is unlikely to remain in contention. Stage 14 will not be as difficult as Stage 13, but it features three major climbs, including the Passo Stelvio, which, at 2,748 m, is the highest point in this year?s Giro. A 15-km descent to the finish follows the Passo di Foscagno.
Will Basso rebound? Will he plummet out of contention? Will another rider take a firm grip on this year?s Giro? If so, who will do so? For the answers to these questions and others, check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!