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Stage 10 of the Giro was a great day for Franco Pellizotti, as the Liquigas all-rounder said himself...
Stage 10 of the Giro was a great day for Franco Pellizotti, as the Liquigas all-rounder said himself after the finish. His victory moves Pellizotti up for fourth on general classification, but while he's a useful climber, he is unlikely to be an overall contender once the race enters its super-steep second phase and the true steep-slope specialists take over.
After the stage, Pellizotti hinted that he will ride the second half in support of designated team leader Danilo Di Luca. "Di Luca is the leader of our team at the Giro but when's there's two of you it's always an advantage because you can come up with a better race strategy," said Pellizotti. "Now we're well placed for the second half of the Giro."
Pellizotti credited his British team-mate Charly Wegelius with helping him cross to the break, the move that set up Pellizotti's eventual victory. "I have to share victory with my team mate Charly Wegelius," said Pellizotti. "We didn't have any riders in the early breakaway and so we attacked together to catch them. There were a lot of attacks in the final part of the stage but Charly sacrificed his chances to help me. He was exceptional."
Phonak's Axel Merckx was perhaps the day's unluckiest rider. Merckx attacked with 15km to go and held the break at 10 seconds into Peschici. But the final ascent to the finish was his undoing and the Belgian was caught with 150m to go. "I tried everything to win because I knew didn't have a chance in a sprint," said Merckx. "I attacked with 15 kilometres to go, got a gap and gave it my all. It's a pity to lose like that but the strongest rider won."
Despite having four riders in the break, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears couldn't quite get their man Vladimir Efimkin across the line first. Piped to the post by Pellizotti, Efimkin was philosophical about not getting the win. "The job the team did during the whole stage was really great," he said. "It is a pity to lose the stage when we had four riders ahead but on the other hand it gives us confidence for the rest of the Giro and I am convinced we will win one because we really want and deserve it!"
With three riders in the top ten Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears won both the day's team competitions. "With a victory it would have been a perfect day!" said the team's spokesperson Pascale Schyns.