By Gregor Brown in Cittadella
Could Italy's Gabriele Bosisio be the ace up Team LPR Brakes' sleeve? The 27 year-old Lecchese sits second in the overall classification heading into three decisive mountain stages - 5'50" behind race leader Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) and 1'09" ahead of Tour de France winner Alberto Contador (Astana).
"Bosisio might be kind of hard to dislodge," said Astana's Levi Leipheimer to Cyclingnews upon hearing the suggestion that his team-mate, Contador, is the top placed of the classification favourites.
Bosisio, winner of stage seven to Pescocostanzo, confirmed on Friday morning that he would be given some space in the following mountain stages, including Saturday's 195-kilometre romp to Alpe di Pampeago.
"Our objective - mine and everyone else in the team - is to stay near Danilo [Di Luca] and Paolo [Savoldelli] tomorrow and for all the stages in the mountains," he declared of the team's two leaders, who have three Giro d'Italia titles between them. "We will try for the stage but also to win the classification."
Will Bosisio be allowed to ride for himself? "This could be an extra card to play," he responded. "Astana has a team with a lot of strong riders. We believe a lot in Danilo and Paolo, and we are trying to stay near them. I don't have a lot of experience in three-week races or climbs this hard, like Passo Manghen. The only other time I did a three-week race was the 2004 Giro d'Italia with Tenax."
In 2004, Bosisio finished three hours and 30 minutes behind overall winner Damiano Cunego.
"The others don't know me," he added, when pressed if he would be allowed to go with attacks to pressure the other teams. "Maybe if I go the others will give me some space and not pull me back, this would be good for me and for all the team. I will try to defend myself. I am 70 kilograms and, definitely, in the mountains I will pay a little bit. But I will try as long as I have the legs to stay ahead."