Giro 2005 - Zoldo Alto
What a stage today in the Giro d’ Italia!
The fast pace since the beginning made the hard course even harder, with over 2500 m of total climbing in the second part of the stage.
The Lampre-Caffita team kept a high tempo already on the Passo Cereda with a VAM of 1600 m/h.
A short descent and on the following climb of Passo Duran, after an acceleration by Simoni, Ivan Basso took matters in his hands, imposing a series of sharp progressions, never really decreasing the speed so much in between.
Simoni and Di Luca promptly covered every acceleration, while a smart Paolo Savoldelli got himself slightly dropped to climb up at his own pace (an excellent pace anyhow!), catching up again towards the less steep final part of the ascent.
Only 5 riders were leading on top of Passo Duran (VAM = 1714 m/h): Rujano, Basso, Simoni, Savoldelli and a slightly fatigued Di Luca.
"Il Falco" Savoldelli took advantage of the fast descent, gaining 20 precious seconds, which allowed him to take the first part of the final ascent, the steeper part, at his own pace again.
When Basso caught him, Paolo was able to keep his wheel quite easily, taking the stage victory.
The VAM on the last climb (1640 m/h) is another good one, but it reminds us once more the importance of a proper nutrition strategy in such demanding stages, when energy sources (muscular and hepatic glycogen) run out so easily, and endurance becomes the most important quality.
Gilberto Simoni gave in 21 seconds to the leading duo, but knowing well his tenacity and endurance skills, he still is in the list of the potential winners of the Giro, together with an excellent Danilo Di Luca…