Former pink jersey wearer David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) didn't try to regain the race's lead from Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) during the penultimate stage of the Giro d'Italia on the Gavia. Aware of his skills, many observers had imagined the damage Arroyo could have caused on the downhill of the trickiest descent of the race.
The day before, Arroyo had made up two minutes on the downhill of the Mortirolo, making up what he had lost on the uphill. Yet on Saturday, after crossing the Gavia's summit behind Basso, the Spaniard, who continued to ride a pink bike despite no longer wearing pin, only followed the Italian leader.
"It was a dangerous descent on which it wasn't worth the riders risking their lives," said Caisse d'Epargne's Directeur Sportif Neil Stephens. "It was still a long way up to the Tonale. Had the finish been situated at the bottom of the Gavia, taking risks would have been considered. But with the strong team that Basso had, it was useless to try anything against him today."
"It was a very taxing stage but a very easy one tactically as well," said the Australian Stephens. "To be in second place the day before the final time trial is way ahead of what we dreamed when we started the Giro."
Arroyo had no regrest for having waited for Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) and Cadel Evans (BMC) between the Mortirolo and Aprica instead of riding with Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), who ended up not helping him anyway after the Spaniard didn't follow his tactical suggestion.
Arroyo, who is from Toledo, sits 1:15 behind Basso on the GC before the final stage - 15km individual time trial in Verona. He also has a 1:41 lead over Vincenzo Nibali and 1:42 over Michele Scarponi. It means he can realistically hope to his second place overall and accompany the Italian heroes on the stage in the antique arena on Sunday.