After helping Ivan Basso to dethrone David Arroyo from the lead at the Giro d’Italia, stage winner Michele Scarponi is now gunning for a place on the podium. Should it come off he could join Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, in what would be a fully Italian top three.
Scarponi, Basso and Nibali combined forces in the last 40 kilometres of stage 19 to Aprica after dropping off all the foreign GC contenders on the Mortirolo, including Arroyo.
“I managed to keep up when Basso forced it on the Mortirolo, although I’ve suffered a lot from 5 to 3 kilometres from the summit," Scarponi said in a post race press conference.
“We had a common interest for the stage win and GC. As soon as he had started thinking of getting the pink jersey, I started thinking of winning the stage. I’m extremely happy. I’ve won a very hard stage.”
Team manager Gianni Savio stated that the, “romantic cycling” he promoted in the past was no longer realistic. He would have loved to see Scarponi fighting like Don Quichotte against the duo of Liquigas-Doimo but it would have been the wrong decision. “We had no choice but to ride for our common interests”, said the manager of Androni-Diquigiovanni.
While his team has always targeted stages rather than GC, they approached the 2010 Giro d’Italia with a different goal. “Since the beginning of the Giro, I had it in mind to finish on the podium”, Scarponi said. “Now I’m 4th, I’ve never been so close to my goal but I’m still not there yet. I’m close to the third place but very far at the same time.”
19 seconds separate Scarponi from Nibali, who is supposedly better against the clock. Savio suggested that the goal might be to gain two minutes over Arroyo instead of 19 seconds over Nibali during the penultimate stage.
“It’s going to be difficult for anyone to take the pink jersey from Basso”, Scarponi said.