By Jean-François Quénet in Bergamo
Danilo Di Luca had to give back 38-seconds (plus a time bonus) of his lead over arch-rival Gilberto Simoni on Saturday . "I expected the attack from Paolo Savoldelli today," the 'killer' explained after the race. I didn't expect that Simoni would be strong enough on the downhill to go with him though."
The maglia rosa says he didn't worry too much though. "I still had four teammates with me. Two of mine were swapping turns with two of Cunego's." Di Luca said the work of his teammates to manage the gap to Simoni allowed him to stay fresh for the 40 kilometres approaching the final climb to Bergamo.
"Simoni might have spent more energy than Cunego and me and it's possible that he'll pay for it tomorrow," Di Luca said. "But he also has taken 50 seconds back. I'm not anxious about that. I still have a comfortable margin on him (2'42). I can even lose one or one and half more minutes on the Tre Cime and the Zoncolan (climbs) but I want to keep a one minute advantage before the (final) time trial in Verona the day before the finish in Milan because Simoni and I are pretty much equal against the clock."
Di Luca says he's extremely respectful of the capacities of his adversaries. "I keep thinking that Simoni is the number one favorite in this Giro d'Italia," he said. "Tomorrow, he'll attack again."
Di Luca says he next biggest worry is Marzio Bruseghin or Lampre - Fondital - winner of the Friday's uphill time trial. "I can lose some more time to Simoni but I have to gain some over Bruseghin who is within one minute of me on GC and is a true time trialist" Bruseghin remains remains almost two minutes ahead of his team leader, Damiano Cunego.