By Jean-François Quénet in Bosa
On a stage where Robbie McEwen nabbed the first bunch sprint win of the 2007 Giro d'Italia, and Danilo Di Luca took the pink jersey over from Enrico Gasparotto, bringing the Liquigas team hierarchy back to normal, one of the unsung heroes in the results of the second stage of the 2007 Giro D'Italia is Tinkoff Credit System's Pavel Brutt.
Brutt had been away in a break for 187 kilometres, most of the time with two Italians (Mauro Facci and Simone Masciarelli) and two Frenchmen (Arnaud Labbe and Frédéric Bessy). "It was a long, long way," Brutt said after the race. "But I'm happy with it. I knew I wouldn't make it though. Today was a day for the sprinters."
So why did the Russian pour his heart and legs into the long breakaway so early into the Giro? His directeur sportif Dimitri Konyshev explained, "Because it's Sunday today. Haven't you noticed how many more viewers there are on Sunday in the TV ratings? We also wanted to do well today because our boss Oleg Tinkov was here with us. The attack wasn't planned though. For now we don't have the status of a team to go for attacks. Pavel followed the move, as instructed prior to the stage."
Brutt was the last rider away from the original breakaway group. "He really impressed me today," Konyshev added. When he got caught by a pure climber like Emmanuele Sella in the last hill, he managed to keep his wheel with ten kilometres to go. This guy has one hell of a grinta. Before giving up, he'd die!"
Brutt got his first real pro win this year at Le Tour de Langkawi on the second to last day, although he hadn't slept the night before that stage after suffering up the Genting Highlands. On his return to Europe, he won the GP Chiasso. He took a bit of time off at home in St-Petersburg and trained for ten days for the Tour of Georgia where he made a few breakaways as usual.
"Pavel has been a great help during the team time trial as well," Konyshev added. "Had Mikhail Ignatiev not dropped off in the last climb, we would have come 6th, and if we had done the ideal ride, we would have finished 5th, that was our golden place."
With performances like this, the Tinkoff Credit Systems team doesn't appear to need Tyler Hamilton and Jörg Jaksche to justify their wild-card inclusion in the Giro; their young Russians have a great potential. "I hope that Pavel will stay quiet in the bunch tomorrow and be able to give a hand to Evgeni Petrov in the first uphill finish on Wednesday. It's not easy to recover from what he did today under such a heat. But we'll try to go for breakaways again. We'd like to do it every Sunday, we'd become the team of the Sunday's rides!"