May 19, 2005 — Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery) and Ivan Basso (CSC) seized early control of the Giro on the first mountain stage today, with Savoldelli notching a brilliant stage win and Basso slipping into the leader’s jersey.
After some early attacks, the race began in earnest after 100km, when the Lampre team of Gilberto Simoni began to attack on the Passo Duran, a 14km climb. Savoldelli, Basso and pink jersey Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) controlled that move, but the pack began to fall apart and defending champion Damiano Cunego couldn’t hold the pace set by his Lampre teammates, becoming the first real casualty among the favourites.
The front group was down to 16 riders, but Basso was not done: a series of attack ripped that break apart, with only Savoldelli, Simoni, Jose Rujano (Selle Italia) and a courageous Di Luca holding on. Basso nonetheless pulled away accompanied by Simoni, but the two couldn’t find even ground to collaborate and, as they crested the climb and with under 20km of racing left, Savoldelli, Rujano and Di Luca had latched back on.
But Savoldelli, who’d suffered on the climb, knew what to do on the very dicey descent: moving to the front he opened a gap, and only Simoni could follow the hard-charging Discovery man, gaining 20 seconds on Basso as the final climb reared its ugly head. But no sooner had they launched into the climb that Basso easily bridged across to the leaders. Basso’s final attack came a handful of kilometers later, and this time Savoldelli was the only on to respond. While Basso managed the bulk of the work up the final switchbacks, with the pink jersey in sight, Savoldelli took the win, setting up what may well prove to be the true head-to-head battle of this Giro.
1 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team 4.13.43 (35.472 km/h)
2 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC
3 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 0.21
4 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 1.01
5 Daniel Atienza Urendez (Spa) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone 1.50
6 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 2.03
7 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Credit Agricole
8 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) Domina Vacanze
9 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team 2.17
10 Jose’ Rujano Guillen (Ven) Selle Italia-Colombia 2.19
133 Michael Barry (Can) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team 32:05
178 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team s.t.
GC after stage 11
1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 49.05.20
2 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team 0.18
3 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 1.04
4 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 2.27
5 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) Domina Vacanze 3.45
6 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4.34
7 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team 4.48
8 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 5.25
9 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 5.58
10 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 6.10
97 Michael Barry (Can) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team 53.27
172 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team 1.26.24