By Gregor Brown in Passo Fedaia
"Definitely, definitely," two-time Giro d'Italia champion Gilberto Simoni said to Cyclingnews Sunday morning in Arabba's Piazzale Funivia in response if it would be a day that he attacks. It will be "a day for the lions and not the lambs."
The 36 year-old Italian from Trento lived up to his promise in stage 15 and helped eliminate key rivals Pellizotti, Klöden, Leipheimer and Savoldelli while mixing it in the front on the Passo Fedaia with Riccò, Di Luca, Menchov and Contador.
"There is pretty high limit in this race. The races are hard. They cause fear," The Diquigiovanni rider added. Simoni distanced himself from Spain's Alberto Contador (Astana) and Italy's Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes), but was not impressed with the movement of the favourites. "It was nothing," he said of the moves up the Alpe di Pampeago. Did anyone impress him? "Sella, who went on to win."
Simoni was at odds with the others' performances, but also with his own. "Nothing for me," he said about Saturday's stage, 195 kilometres. "The race went that way, no one was moving. I was the first to get going. Menchov took the extra step, but..."
Sunday's tappone [stage - ed.] to Passo Fedaia was better. "It was tiring, my head is good," he confessed at the finish. "If one is there they can't make the difference. Riccò was ahead, but only held 10 metres on us.
"This rhythm is good and my level is high. I am there, up front and I am taking it well. However, I had thought of something more from today. ... I remain confident."