There were no presents in yesterday's 16th stage to Monte Bondone: Giro d'Italia leader Ivan 'il Terribile' Basso put everyone to the sword with around 7 km to go to win the stage by a minute and a half over Gilberto Simoni. The stage was held in Simoni's home region of Trentino, but Gibo and his tifosi had to be content with second place.
For Basso, it was a special moment, as he commented on team-csc.com. "It was a fantastic feeling to win on a mountain wearing the pink jersey," he said. "I think it's something all riders dream about; certainly it's always been a big dream of mine ever since I became a pro. Of course all victories are important, but this one will always be special to me.
"The team set me up perfectly, so I was able to do my bit at the end to try and finish the job. It's really hard for me to put into words, how I feel, and I have a very tough day ahead of me tomorrow. But I do feel very happy with what we've accomplished today. The Giro is far from over and I won't preconceive me winning, but today is a day I'll never forget that's for sure."
Basso's team manager and mentor Bjarne Riis was very impressed with the way his rider handled things in stage 16. "What Ivan did out there today will most likely pass over into history as one of the great stage wins in the Giro," said Riis. "Today he displayed some of the enormous potential he has as a rider. At the moment he's in a league of his own and the rhythm he found on the mountain today was fantastic to watch. He proved that he's the strongest rider in the Giro and probably one of the greatest riders in the sport at the moment. Tomorrow is an extremely difficult stage, but with the way the team and Ivan are performing at the moment it's surely something to look forward to."