Cut and dried
It was a welcome day for the team yesterday that the three sprinters' teams were willing to do all the work in the stage. That allowed us to sit a little bit quiet in the bunch. It was still a long day yesterday, especially on the back of the couple of big mountain days. We did see that everyone had recuperated well though.
There's not a hell of a lot to say about today: it was pretty cut and dried. We were lucky with the weather. It stayed dry until just after the finish, then there was a lot of wind and rain, and it got really nasty.
It was calm at the beginning, and I think everyone was a bit daunted by the coming stages. I think it was 40 km before the first attack went, then the boys got on the front and started riding a nice little tempo. Sometimes a Saunier Duval rider was up there, and that is what we more or less expected. At the team meeting in the morning, Bjarne Riis said that Simoni would try to win this stage, as he's from the area and he needed to start his assault on a podium place.
As it turned out, that's more or less how it went. The boys did a fantastic job to the bottom of the climb, then kept the tempo up. Simoni and Piepoli were aggressive. They wanted to make the race hard, we knew it beforehand. Then when we saw Cunego and Savoldelli lose contact, for Simoni that was the signal to give full gas, which he did do. Ivan needed to wait a bit and see what was happening, then it was time to go. He went on, by himself, and was very strong at the finish. He was very calm and alert. And he went onto the victory. This is a definite confidence booster to himself and the team.
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