Paolo Savoldelli's overall victory in the Giro d'Italia marked the eighth grand tour win for Johan Bruyneel's Discovery Channel (formerly US Postal) team: six Tours de France, one Giro d'Italia, and one Vuelta a Espana. The boys in blue have now won all three major tours between them, with Lance Armstrong going for a seventh Tour de France this July. And with talented riders like Yaroslav Popovych and Tom Danielson, there is at least a base for future big wins.
Savoldelli finished up beating Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) by 28 seconds and Jose Rujano (Selle Italia) by 45: a close margin, but certainly not the closest in the history of the Giro. In 1948, Fiorenzo Magni beat Ezio Cecchi by 11 seconds, while in 1974, Eddy Merckx beat Giambattista Baronchelli by 12 seconds, and in 1955, Magni beat Fausto Coppi by 13 seconds. But it has been nearly 30 years since a Giro was decided by a margin of less than 30 seconds (Gimondi beat De Muynck by 19 seconds in 1976).
"Everyone did a great job," said team director Sean Yates in a team statement. "We knew it wasn't over until we finished up today and hit the line with one lap to go, as that was where the official time was taken. And with one to go, we had Michael Barry at the head with Paolo on his wheel, as we knew one crash or something like that could potentially lose it all. After that, everyone sat up and that was it."
Now, Discovery will refocus itself on the Tour de France, where Armstrong is again the great favourite. The Giro is over for another year. "Finishing up any big Tour is a bit anti climatic," said Yates. "You're hyped up for three weeks and then all of a sudden, it's over. It almost feels like you can go another three weeks."