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Ivan Basso says, 'That's gold!'
Another Giro mountaintop finish has resulted in more time gains for race leader Ivan Basso (CSC)...
Another Giro mountaintop finish has resulted in more time gains for race leader Ivan Basso (CSC) after the Italian attacked with seven kilometres remaining and surged ahead to win the stage atop Monte Bondone. The win extends his lead in the general classification to 5'24 over second-placed José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak). Once again it was Basso's great display of rhythmic, powerful climbing that placed him well above anyone else and shores up his status as race winner, barring injury or any other misfortune.
Earlier in the day, Colombia's Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) decided he'd fly the coop after 37 kilometres of racing, staying out front until he was caught with some 21 kilometres to go. It was then time for CSC to kick into action, with the likes of Julich, Voigt and Sastre working some big turns to get Basso into position for a late-stage surge.
And Basso didn't disappoint, taking his GC rivals along for the ride up the slopes of Monte Bondone after catching Rubiano - Cunego, Di Luca, Savoldelli and Simoni were all there and doing their best to keep pace with CSC's superman - but in the end it was the 28-year-old Italian who showed that he's simply the best in 2006 with an attack that left Simoni et al in the dust to win the stage, all done with a poker face and scarce signs of any extra effort. Simoni rolled in for second, 1'27 in arrears with Saunier Duval stablemate Piepoli finishing the day in third, 1'38 behind Basso.
See also: Stage 16 full results, report & photos and .