The protagonist behind today's dramatic stage and leaving behind a trail of the world's best bike riders in his wake, Team CSC's Ivan Basso was naturally delighted with the outcome, finishing second to Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel), but taking the maglia rosa in the process.
"I felt really strong today. I wasn't giving much thought as to who was positioned where, but just made sure to keep as fast a pace as possible, as we hit the Passo Duran climb," explained Basso on the team's website, team-csc.com.
"This turned out to be the right strategy, and I could see that not many were able to keep up with me. I had great legs today, so I launched several attacks in order to drop my competitors. Today, I showed that I'm a rider capable of pulling off a serious attack under the right circumstances," he said.
Said team manager Bjarne Riis: "It was a pleasure to watch Basso today. He did everything right, was very strong and had the situation well under control. There was no doubt who was the strongest out there today, and it's great to capture the pink jersey in a tough mountain stage. The whole team has worked hard, focusing on this goal. Now, we'll take one day at a time, because we know exactly what's ahead of us, and there are still many difficulties to be overcome before reaching Milan."
Like his directeur cautioned, the 27 year-old isn't getting ahead of himself, knowing anyone - including he - can have a bad day.
"It's a dream come true for me and my team to have the maglia rosa, but I choose to be very humble about the situation," said Basso. "There are still a lot of tough stages left, and the race is far from over. Today, many riders had an actual off-day, but that can happen to everyone in a big stage race - including myself. Now, we have achieved an important goal, but of course I'll attack again, if I feel as strong as I did today."