Mazzoleni is Di Luca's new rival

By Jean-François Quénet Danilo Di Luca managed to put time on the dangerous Marzio Bruseghin during...

By Jean-François Quénet

Danilo Di Luca managed to put time on the dangerous Marzio Bruseghin during the brutal 15th stage of the 2007 Giro D'Italia before the Italian Time Trial National Champion could threaten Di Luca's lead heading into the final week of the Giro but he quickly found a new rival in Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana). Mazzoleni had been a virtual leader of the Giro when he was in between the four man breakaway and the group of the maglia rosa with three and half minutes advantage.

"My action was born at the foot of the Giau," Mazzoleni, Ivan Basso's soon-to-be brother in-law (Elisa Basso is his fiancée) said after the stage. "I had nothing to lose so I went by myself."

Di Luca says that even though Mazzoleni had the virtual advantage in the race, he felt that his team had the situation under control. "I knew the finale of the stage very well," the 'killer' explained. "I raced economically and managed to do a good final climb." The killer was optimistic about his result on the day "I gained time on all my adversaries except Mazzoleni - who is the strongest time trialist of all the guys who are close to me on GC."

Being a GC threat is a new situation for super-domestique Mazzoleni, who had ridden with Saeco, Polti, Tacconi, Vini Caldirola, Saeco again, Lampre, T-Mobile and now Astana since he turned pro in 1996. "It's the first time I can ride as a team leader," he said.

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