Il Falco pronto for Giro

Finishing eighth overall at the Tour de Romandie last weekend, Discovery Channel's assistant sports...

Finishing eighth overall at the Tour de Romandie last weekend, Discovery Channel's assistant sports manager Laurenzo Lapage is satisfied with Manuel 'Triki' Beltran's performance, and also believes Paolo Savoldelli is "just about ready" for the upcoming Giro d'Italia.

"For someone who is not a specialist against the clock, I would say before the race if we said Triki would finish in the top 10, we would be happy with that finish," said Lapage in a team statement. "Overall, he did his best and we are satisfied with his eighth overall finish. He said he was happy as well, as most of the guys there were preparing for the Giro and are near their peak fitness and in better shape."

Lapage added that because television coverage was interrupted during the final TT in Lausanne, he was unable to provide proper time splits to the Spanish rider to gauge where he was in the race, and didn't know where Beltran finished until they reached the airport and someone was able to get on the Internet.

As for Paolo Savoldelli, the 31 year-old Italian, nicknamed 'Il Falco' for his descending skills, began the race by finishing second in the prologue and was third overall heading into the third stage, but lost nearly five minutes that day and over one minute the following stage to fall to 30th on GC. However, Savoldelli still managed a top 10 stage finish in Lausanne to show he's on track for a solid Giro, a race he won back in 2002 and was the 1999 runner-up in.

"Paolo is just about ready for the Giro," said Lapage. "He had a really good time trial and I think he's ready. He thinks and believes a top five finish is possible." Two other riders from Romandie, Ryder Hesjedal and Volodymyr Bileka, will also form part of Discovery's team for the race.

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