An interview with Paolo Savoldelli

Capturing his first Tour de France victory in Stage 17 , Paolo Savoldelli has shown the world he can...

Il Falco flies again

Capturing his first Tour de France victory in Stage 17, Paolo Savoldelli has shown the world he can win on cycling's centre stage. The question Anthony Tan asks now is, can he take over centre stage once Lance Armstrong retires?

At the Discovery Channel press conference on the first rest day in Grenoble, team manager Johan Bruyneel was asked on the condition of this year's Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli. The Italian was hired specifically to help Lance Armstrong win his sixth Tour, but one week into the race, there appeared to be a few question marks over his form.

"Well, he's definitely not in the same condition he was in the Giro, that's for sure," admitted Bruyneel. "We all expected that and we all knew that. Savoldelli is here to support Lance and the team and he's in good enough shape to be with him a long time in the mountains, but I don't expect him to become one of the favourites of the race."

Over the next week and a half, Savoldelli did indeed improve. Along with George Hincapie, Yaroslav Popovych, Jose Azevedo and Jose Luis Rubiera, the quintet became Armstrong's fearsome fivesome - on the flats, in the hills, in the finales...whenever he needed them.

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