Amadio applauds Di Luca's Liège performance

This last Sunday, Danilo Di Luca added the final of three Ardennes Classics to his palmarès by...

Giro without Basso will be "equal and open"

This last Sunday, Danilo Di Luca added the final of three Ardennes Classics to his palmarès by winning the 93rd Liège-Bastogne-Liège. In 2005 the 31 year-old Liquigas rider won the Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallonne, before going on to finish fourth overall in the Giro d'Italia, but narrowly missed out on La Doyenne. Now, like two years ago, 'The Killer' looks to be a serious threat for the Giro d'Italia (starting May 12 in Sardegna).

"At this point we have to believe in him," said Liquigas Team Manager Roberto Amadio to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The win in Liège gave him more security, and we were already very convinced by him. This calmness will be a favourable point for Danilo and Liquigas."

Amadio considers this Giro to be open and suited towards the characteristics of the rider from Abruzzo. "Without counting the time trial in Verona and the mountain time trial of Oropa, this Giro is not for the specialists. He will be able to aim for the Maglia Rosa."

After yesterday's news of the Ivan Basso and Discovery Channel divorce the Italian believes that the Giro won't be controlled by one person. "Without Basso there will not be one rider or one team to dominate. It will be an equal and open Giro. I see Di Luca on the same level as Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni and Paolo Savoldelli."

Yesterday, 'The Killer' returned to his home town of Pescara to celebrate with his friends and family. Tomorrow he will go to preview stage 17, with its finish on the feared Monte Zoncolan, and stage 15, finishing on the Tre Cima di Lavaredo.

Italian National DS, Franco Ballerini, was equally impressed with Di Luca's performance in Belgium. "He has great condition, that has arrived at the right time and he is still able to grow," said the Tuscan, who directed Di Luca at last year's World Championships. "In 2005 he started to win with the País Vasco and then he started the Giro with the aim of stage wins; only in the third week was the Maglia Rosa considered. This year he will be able to concentrate only on the third week."

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