Danilo Di Luca was racing as a young rider back when current Silence-Lotto directeur sportif Roberto Damiani, who was then serving as national coach for the Italian U23 team, nicknamed him "The Killer". Di Luca explained why: "It was because I always won the races that I announced I'd win."
It seems as if nothing has changed for the 33-year-old Di Luca of team LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini. "I've arrived at the end of stage five according to my plan: with a stage win and wearing the pink jersey," said "The Killer" atop Alpe di Siusi.
More great rides could be coming from Di Luca. "I have the condition I had when I won the Giro d'Italia in 2007," he warned. "With how I feel, let me repeat, I can win whatever bike race."
Di Luca pointed out that his prognostics had already proved largely correct. "Except for Simoni, all the riders that I had expected to be there were there today," he said. "I told you (Carlos) Sastre would be the man to watch." Di Luca was among those responding to the Spaniard's acceleration with 600 metres to go, but stage five winner Denis Menchov was faster to the line.
"I wanted to get a time bonus to take the pink jersey," he said. "The maglia rosa is always worth an effort. Now we have very long stages to come. It will be suitable for long breakaways. Of course, if someone who is only two minutes down on GC goes away, our team will chase and defend the jersey."
Di Luca doesn't expect any major changes to occur within the GC until the 60km time trial in Sestri Levante, stage 12 on May 21. "I can see on the results sheet that the best long distance time trialists are in second, third, fourth and fifth in the GC, but I already have a good advantage," said a hopeful Di Luca, who is running another sort of campaign on the Italian roads.
Just as Lance Armstrong is riding to promote the fight against cancer, Di Luca is raising funds with the sale of pink bands showing support for victims of an earthquake in his region of Abruzzo. The bands have "Abbruziamo" written on them.