|Beñat Intxausti dedicated today's to the memories of Xavi Tondo and his grandfather|
Today's stage reminded me of an old school Welterweight fight. It was scrappy, messy and unpredictable with lots of attacking and sudden bursts of speed. Of note Pirazzi's apparent complete lack of restraint. And thank God for that. I absolutely love tough, head-strong, stubborn riders like that. Reminds me of Ludo Dierckxsens in the Classics of the 90s. A guy who'd look dead one minute and would be out the front the next, just to get dropped again, only to attack again 10 kilometers after. That type of passion is what attracted me to cycling in the 80s and I'm glad it's still out there.
At the end, only one acceleration mattered, and that was Beñat Intxausti's. The Basque outsmarted Kangert and Niemiec to take his first stage in a Grand Tour and climb one step in the GC to ninth, leaping over a struggling Pozzovivo.
The big loser today was Santambrogio. As I write this, I still don't know if he lost time because he had an off day or because he had some sort of a mechanical. Either way, he fell down to sixth in the general classification.
|Santambrogio and his doppelgänger, wrestler Matt Stricker|
Uran, who did a good job of following wheels today, was a guest on RAI's post stage show along with teammate Dario Cataldo. Alessandra de Stefano took the opportunity to make fun of Rigo's awesome mane, which looked especially amazing exploding out of his Rapha winter cap. When asked how the mood in the team had changed since Sir Wigg-a-lot's departure Uran said that the first thing that changed was the language of conversation within the team. I'm sure Hey-now was happy, since I've heard his English is terrible. Cataldo added that the team is much more relaxed and that riding for Uran is easier, since he doesn't require Sky making tempo the way Wiggins did. Besides, he pointed out, Uran is a bit of a jokester in the bus. I don't see Wiggo cracking any jokes on the way to the start line.
|Uran, his hair and Cataldo laugh it up during RAI's post stage show|
Speaking of cycling caps, Cavendish was wearing one before the stage, when blowing out the candles on his birthday cake. Happy birthday, Mark, and thank you for not wearing a baseball hat. Now, if we can just get you to do the same after stage wins...
|Happy birthday, Mark|
Finally, my dear brother and podcast co-host, The Almighty Klaus is landing in Italy later today. He will be there for the rest of the Giro working on a few assignments. I wish him the best of luck and hopefully he can send me some images I can use in the blog.
- Mario Cipollini mention counter: 5
- Helmet talk counter: 16
- Euskaltel guys on the deck counter: 3
- Stage winner wearing
Cycling cap: 1 (Uran)
Baseball hat: 11
No hat: 1