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Clash of the titans: Evans Vs. Basso

By:
Greg Johnson
Published:
May 28, 2010, 16:23 BST,
Updated:
May 28, 2010, 12:28 BST
Race:
Giro d'Italia
Ivan Basso (Liquigas - Doimo) leads Micheli Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) and Cadel Evans (BMC).

Ivan Basso (Liquigas - Doimo) leads Micheli Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) and Cadel Evans (BMC).

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It’s a race organiser’s dream to have the International Cycling Union (UCI) Road World Champion contesting its race, but Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport has it even better: the rainbow-clad Cadel Evans is in the final stages of a bid for the 93rd edition’s title. The cherry on the cake for RCS Sport is that the Australian is engaged in a dual with a local favourite Ivan Basso.

The extraordinary parcours that forms this year’s race has rewarded the organiser and fans alike with an incredible battle, which is nearing its climax. To describe the first 18 stages, or 3,087.3 kilometres of racing, as a preamble would be foolish but it’s the remaining 388 kilometres over three stages that will now decide who goes down in history as the victor of an epic Grand Tour.

Having seen riders like Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) ridden out of the race, then back into it and out again, none of the riders are making predictions heading into the final trio of stages. Sastre is one general classification rider who sits within 5:30 minutes off the lead, along with Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) – all of whom could assume a race winning position if another completely unexpected event were to transpire.

 Ivan Basso (Liquigas - Doimo) moved into 2nd overall and narrowed the gap to race leader David Arroyo.

Yet despite Spaniard David Arroyo Duran (Caisse d'Epargne) holding the maglia rosa, much of the attention is on Evans and Basso. Evans held the latter’s wheel for much of the Zoncolan climb on Sunday, but he’ll have to attack the Italian to gain crucial seconds heading into this Sunday’s final time trial.

The time difference of 42 seconds (click here for full general classification) separating Basso from Evans might be marginal, but the remaining stages are epic. In his preview of the course for Cyclingnews, Scarponi used words like ‘horror’, ‘hell’ and ‘bloodbath’ to describe the two remaining mountain stages.

The stages

Stage 19: It starts today with a 195 km stage from Brescia to Aprica that includes 4,640 metres of climbing over two mountains. A steep rise into the finish town of Aprica will soften up the peloton before it’s hit by Santa Cristina, which has a maximum gradient of 14 percent, followed by Mortirolo that has an average gradient of 10.3 percent. Click here for full details.

Stage 20: The profile of this 178 km stage mimics a electroencephalograph. Starting in Bormio, riders will cover 6,320m including the historic Passo di Gavia before finishing on the Passa del Tonale. Click here for full details.

A tired Evans had no match for Basso on the climb but still came home in second place

Stage 21: The race could be won before the Verona time trial, but more likely it will play a crucial roll despite being a relatively short stage. The lumpy surface includes a rise to 220 metres in the centre of the course before dropping back down to the finish line. Click here for full details.

Closest in recent history?

In the past 20-years the Giro has only been decided by less than 60 seconds on three occasions. While anything could yet happen, many believe this year’s race will fall in that category or even be the closest in two decades.

The 2005 edition was by far the closest of those three editions, with Paolo Savoldelli landing the title with just 28 seconds to spare on Gilberto Simoni. Making that battle even more spectacular was José Rujano who finished in third, but just 45 seconds behind Savoldelli.

Last year’s edition was another close finish, with just 41 seconds the difference. On that occasion race winner Denis Menchov was able to add 21 seconds to his margin over second placed Danilo di Luca on the final time trial, despite the Russian rider crashing his time trial bike on the Roma course.

The third sub 60 second finish was between Miguel Indurain and Piotre Ugrumov back in 1993. It came down to a two horse race that year with Cluadio Chiappucci more than five minutes behind eventual winner, Indurain. The difference between Indurain and Ugrumov was 58 seconds, still not bad after 103 hours 36 minutes and 03 seconds of racing.

 

Results from the last two decades

2009
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Denis Menchov 86:03:11  
2 Danilo Di Luca 0:00:41  
3 Franco Pellizotti 0:01:59  
2008
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Alberto Contador Velasco 89:56:49  
2 Riccardo Ricco 0:01:57  
3 Marzio Bruseghin 0:02:54  
2007
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Danilo Di Luca 92:59:39  
2 Andy Schleck 0:01:55  
3 Eddy Mazzoleni 0:02:25  
2006
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Ivan Basso 91:33:36  
2 José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna 0:09:18  
3 Gilberto Simoni 0:11:59  
2005
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Paolo Savoldelli 91:25:51  
2 Gilberto Simoni 0:00:28  
3 José Rujano Guillen 0:00:45  
2004
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Damiano Cunego 88:40:43  
2 Serhiy Honchar 0:02:02  
3 Gilberto Simoni 0:02:05  
2003
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Gilberto Simoni 89:32:09  
2 Stefano Garzelli 0:07:06  
3 Yaroslav Popovych 0:07:11  
2002
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Paolo Savoldelli 89:22:42  
2 Tyler Hamilton 0:01:41  
3 Pietro Caucchioli 0:02:12  
2001
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Gilberto Simoni 89:02:58  
2 Abraham Olano Manzano 0:07:31  
3 Unai Osa Eizaguirre 0:08:37  
2000
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Stefano Garzelli 98:30:14  
2 Francesco Casagrande 0:01:27  
3 Gilberto Simoni 0:01:33  
1999
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Ivan Gotti 99:55:56  
2 Paolo Savoldelli 0:03:35  
3 Gilberto Simoni 0:03:36  
1998
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Marco Pantani 98:48:32  
2 Pavel Tonkov 0:01:33  
3 Giuseppe Guerini 0:06:51  
1997
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Ivan Gotti 102:53:58  
2 Pavel Tonkov 0:01:27  
3 Giuseppe Guerini 0:07:40  
1996
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Pavel Tonkov 105:20:23  
2 Enrico Zaina 0:02:43  
3 Abraham Olano Manzano 0:02:57  
1995
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Tony Rominger 97:39:50  
2 Eugeni Berzin 0:04:13  
3 Piotre Ugrumov 0:04:55  
1994
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Eugeni Berzin 100:41:21  
2 Marco Pantani 0:02:51  
3 Miguel Indurain Larraya 0:03:23  
1993
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Miguel Indurain Larraya 98:09:44  
2 Piotre Ugrumov 0:00:58  
3 Claudio Chiappucci 0:05:27  
1992
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Miguel Indurain Larraya 103:36:08  
2 Claudio Chiappucci 0:05:12  
3 Franco Chioccioli 0:07:16  
1991
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Franco Chioccioli 99:35:43  
2 Claudio Chiappucci 0:03:48  
3 Massimiliano Lelli 0:06:56  
1990
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Gianni Bugno 91:51:08  
2 Charly Mottet 0:06:33  
3 Marco Giovannetti 0:09:01  

 

Full Specifications

What the contenders are saying:

Maglia rosa David Arroyo Duran (Caisse d'Epargne): “We'll see what happens tomorrow. We don't want to let Nibali, Basso and Evans go. We'll defend the jersey.”

World champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team): "It's going to be close battle. I have to be very careful with how I spend my energy and make my efforts. I can’t leave much to chance.”

Former Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam): “A priori: there are a number of riders who are on top form at the moment, but anything could happen in these two stages because it's an extremely hard route.”

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