By Gregor Brown in Locarno, Switzerland
Winner of the Giro d'Italia Plan de Corones mountain time trial, Italian Franco Pellizotti, is keeping his fight for the top spot of the overall podium going as the race nears its final day in Milano, June 1. He currently is in fifth place, 2'05" behind Spain's Alberto Contador (Astana).
"I will try up until the end of Sunday," declared the 30 year-old of Liquigas to Cyclingnews Wednesday morning in Sondrio, before starting stage 17 of the Corsa Rosa. "I think that I am equal to the others or one step above. I still believe and I will believe up until Milano."
His willpower is aided by his second ever Giro d'Italia stage win, the 12.9-kilometre run to Plan de Corones. He bettered Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare) and Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni) to win the race's first-ever visit to the ski resort.
"It was a great, emotional win for me," he commented on the stage this last Monday. "I think that I am going strong now."
Liquigas, like the other teams, did the four-hour drive from the Dolomites to Sondrio on Tuesday morning. Pellizotti and his team-mates then went out for a ride, where they tested the finale of Saturday's stage to Tirano. "The rest day went well," he confirmed "We rested after the hard work of these last days. We were able to ride only one hour; riding to the top of Aprica."
"We are very content for his win," added Team Manager Roberto Amadio. "It was a beautiful win and he deserved it. I hope that he makes the podium in Milano. I think Contador has demonstrated that he will be able to arrive in Milano as the victor."
He added of Pellizotti's fight, "We will try, we have nothing to lose."