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After a poor outcome on Saturday's stage to Pistoia, Team CSC revitalised their challenge in today's long and extremely testing Giro time trial as American time trial champion David Zabriskie won the stage by 17 seconds from his team leader, Ivan Basso.
Danilo Di Luca continued his great form by taking 10th place on the stage, and he hung on to the maglia rosa by just nine seconds from Basso. Third place for Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli pushed him up to third overall, although the 2002 Giro winner felt he could have done better. His radio broke after just a few kilometres of riding and he was unable to get time checks and other information for the rest of the test into Florence.
Even so, Savoldelli's day went a lot better than that of Lampre duo Damiano Cunego and Gilberto Simoni. Defending champion Cunego was expecting to lose time on Basso today but probably not as much as two minutes. The gains Cunego made yesterday were swept away as he dropped from second overall to fourth, a shade over a minute down on Basso.
Simoni fared even worse, finishing almost three minutes behind Zabriskie and dropping to 10th overall. He's now two minutes behind Basso, which is by no means a big deficit considering the main mountain stages are still to come. But he is also a minute down on team-mate Cunego and will now to cut that deficit fast if he is to have any chance of winning the race.
Cunego made a point of saying afterwards that the race is only just beginning for real now. "It wasn't decided yesterday on the first big hill and it's not been decided today in the time trial. Time trialling is not my favourite thing in the world and I found this course very hard. The hill at the start required lots of changes of rhythm and it seemed to suit the specialists better," Cunego explained.
Basso, too, offered excuses, in his case for his performance yesterday, which he said was down to a saddle that wasn't set to the right height for him when he changed bikes towards the end of the stage.
Tomorrow's stage to Ravenna should offer the sprinters a chance to flaunt their finishing speed before Tuesday's rest day.
Stage 8, Lamporecchio-Florence
1 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 45km in 58.31 (46.14kph)
2 Ivan Basso (Ita) CSC 0.17
3 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel 0.44
4 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.48
5 Serhiy Honchar (Ukr) Domina Vacanze 0.51
6 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Illes Balears 1.07
7 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.15
8 Thomas Dekker (Hol) Rabobank 1.23
9 Jan Hruska (Cze) Liberty Seguros 1.34
10 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 1.35
11 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 1.56
12 Dario Cioni (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
16 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 2.24
18 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step 2.39
22 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Liberty Seguros 2.47
23 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 2.52
34 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Crdit Agricole 3.17
37 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 3.19
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 36.06.47
2 Basso 0.09
3 Savoldelli 0.35
4 Cunego 1.15
5 Cioni 1.27
6 Garzelli 1.35
7 Bruseghin 1.38
8 Honchar 1.39
9 Fothen 2.10
10 Simoni 2.11
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