Giro stage 3 pre-race vox pop

David Zabriskie (CSC)

American David Zabriskie is enjoying his first Giro, where his job is to protect Ivan Basso as much as possible, and to "try to keep him from losing time in the first two weeks."

Zabriskie was part of the CSC train that controlled the final part of the second stage on the tricky finishing circuit around Santa Maria del Cedro. "Ivan lost a little bit of time in stage 1, so it was something to take notice of and not let it happen again."

For now, Zabriskie said he's "just sitting back and waiting for the race get really hard and help Ivan do what he has to do. It's nice so far."

Henk Vogels (Davitamon-Lotto)

Robbie McEwen's lead out man Henk Vogels couldn't quite finish off the job for his captain at the end of stage 2, but it turned out well anyway, as McEwen took Kirsipuu's wheel to the finish and won the stage and the maglia rosa. We asked Henk what happened in the finale: "I had [Robbie] from four kilometres to go to 1100 metres out. Then I got caught underneath and there was no way I could get out. He ended up following Kirsipuu, then he just smashed them with 150 metres to go and that was it."

On Petacchi's complaints about the sprint, Vogels responded, "This is a ProTour race now. It's not the Giro of the last couple years where the Italian guys have let Petacchi ride to the finish behind his train and let him go at 200 metres. Now you've got the FDJ train, the Credit Agricole train, the Lotto train, and all the other Italian teams. He's still going to win, but he's just not going to have it his own way, As you've seen in the last few days, I think the level's gone up a bit."

Mark Renshaw (Francaise des Jeux)

Mark Renshaw rode a good prologue to finish in the top 10 but told Cyclingnews that it took it out of him. "I went pretty deep on the first day and it's taken me the last few days to come good again," he explained. "Today I'll try to help Cookie a bit more. There's probably about 15 guys who can win a stage at the moment, but Cookie is looking good."

As far as Petacchi's comments went, Renshaw had his own take on it, "It's the first time he's ever been hit, that's the problem! It's good that everyone has started to get in amongst it instead of letting Petacchi just ride away with it all the time."

Matt Wilson (Francaise des Jeux)

Matt Wilson's main job is to keep the team's sprinter Baden Cooke out of trouble. "It's going alright," he told us today. "Nothing too exciting has happened so far. Cooke was up for the finish yesterday but it was a bit gnarly. He just needs to get a straight run in, get a bit of luck. He's got the power there.

"Petacchi likes it all nice and smooth running in, so he's not liking this so much. Good to see it's a bit more open and a bit more competitive."

Baden Cooke (Francaise des Jeux)

"I'm sick of these easy sprints; I might really take some risks today," Cooke joked to us at the start. He also squashed any potential rumours that he and McEwen might work together against Petacchi. "Robbie and I are really going to organise something like that against Petacchi!"

Antonio Cruz (Discovery Channel)

American rider Tony Cruz was his usual relaxed self when we spoke to him at the start of Stage 3, and asked about his goals for the race. "Right now we're just to trying to keep our GC contenders out of trouble," he said. "It's pretty basic tactics and racing right now. Tom [Danielson] looks good every time the road goes up, but we're mainly working for [Paolo] Savoldelli.

"Savoldelli and Tom are going well. The race really starts for us in the time trial and then up in the mountains. That's what there waiting for, and we've just got to keep them out of trouble."

What about a stage win for yourself? "Oh I'm thinking about it. Give me a good day and I'll just go for it."

We also asked Cruz about the effect of the ProTour: "I think it's put a lot of big riders and bigger teams here and I know they organisers are definitely going to benefit from it. It'll be interesting to see at the end of the year how the ProTour is going to work for everyone from those teams and everyone involved.

Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel)

It's been nice, the roads are great, it's been calm so far. Everything is going to plan. Savoldelli is just sitting pretty. We'll see how it goes in the next couple of days. My role is just to make sure he's up there for the finish, making sure there's no time gaps, getting him a good position at the end, and making sure he's safe.

Michael Barry and Ryder Hesjedal (Discovery Channel)

Michael Barry is in his first Giro together with his Canadian teammate Ryder Hesjedal, and both were sitting in the sun when we spoke to them on Tuesday morning. "It's a bit different to the Vuelta," commented Barry. "It's been a pretty good experience so far.

"Our aim is to keep Tom and Paolo rested. The race is going to come down to the last week. We don't have a sprinter here, so it makes it a bit easier, because we only have to keep our guys up there, not setting up the sprinters, which is a lot more hectic. We just have to make sure we're in the first quarter of the peloton coming towards the finish and don't get caught in the splits."

Barry said that Savoldelli will be the team's main rider, while Danielson is just here to gain experience. "Tom's not so much focussing on the GC here, more to be fresh for the mountains. It's his first time in a tour like this and a completely new experience for him. Mostly we'll be working for Paolo.

Ryder Hesjedal added, "It's going to be a long three weeks. We'll just take it day by day. This is my first time and it's good to be around guys who are experienced and have a clear objective about what's going on."

We also asked their opinions of Alessandro Petacchi. Michael Barry: "Nothing comes for granted here, everyone wants to do well, and everyone has to fight for stage wins. Petacchi was climbing well at Romandie. Maybe he's not so good here."

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