Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Giro d'Italia 2008 Stage 4: Good Thing

Not much to say about today's stage, except it's a darn good thing Mark Cavendish came through with the win. His team worked from start to finish to give him the chance, and he did well to repay their efforts. For much of the sleepy stage, there was a lone High Road rider smack on the front, leading Liquigas and the rest so that Rik Verbrugghe was at least kept in the same time zone. And then when Cavendish was lost on the final climb, they brought him back. And when he was a few too many riders behind going into the stretch, teammate Tony Martin moved him up into the perfect spot. Heck, even Paolo Bettini helped the kid out, you've got to honor that!

Cavendish was his usual cocky self after, but he did also give great credit to his team, and Bettini. It's good to see that these things make a big impression on him, and I like to think he's learning and growing as he goes.

The day was not without nasty crashes, but at least it was better than yesterday. Shoes seem to be a recurring theme this week, today we had a Gerolsteiner rider getting two new shoes out of the trunk of the team car after a crash. The peloton was going slow, but still, that must've been one heck of a haul to get back on after such a long stop. Thank you, Giro gods, for keeping a couple of my Slipstream-Chipotle guys from crashing into that dog! I'd like to have seen their heart meters after that one. No thank you to whoever thought it would be a brilliant idea to toss pink streamers over the peloton as they're riding like bats out of hell. At least one got caught up in a rider's wheel, thankfully on the non-chain side. The balloons, too, Erik Zabel had to dodge one right after the line, come on people! As for the final crash, the guys at RAI had the only word for it - bruttissimo. Some things just don't need translating.

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