Michele Scarponi was the best of Liberty Seguros' riders on the first mountain stage of the Giro, eventually finishing ninth at 2'17 to stage winner Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel). Asked how he felt he did, the 25 year-old rated his performance as "good enough, but not exceptional."
Scarponi said he felt he was going well until the point where he was dropped on the penultimate climb of the Passo Duran, "but the Giro is very long and many things can still happen", he added. "Today, Cunego, Garzelli and Cioni all went bad, but it was one very difficult day.
Continued Scarponi: "Basso, Savoldelli and Simoni are a step better that mine and it was impossible to follow them. Despite this, I am satisfied with the situation that I have now in the general [classification; now seventh overall - ed.]. Today was only the first mountain stage and I am confident on Saturday [Stage 13] or Sunday [Stage 14], I could achieve a good result."
Liberty's team manager Manolo Saiz is equally optimistic: "We are ahead, but we lack a step to be with the best, although we have placed immediately after Basso, Savoldelli and Simoni. The major surprise has been Cunego, and to be honest, Simoni was not very good, either."
"However, it has been the first contact we've had with the mountains and most of the Giro still awaits. It is significant what we have seen today, in terms of the hierarchies established, but it is still necessary to wait," cautioned Saiz.
Saiz also admitted that he was dreaming "of being a little higher [on the overall], because I believe that Scarponi is so good as Savoldelli, but it is easy to forget he is only 25 years old and we are demanding him to ride like those who are 30 [or more]. And because of that, I am even more satisfied, because he is demonstrating good progression."