Cav, like him or loathe him, what a sprinter. His train is by no means HTC – the GreenEdge boys were much better organised, yesterday – but all that does is to underline his quality. Today, in the stage from Savona to Cervere, he was isolated and boxed – he was free-wheeling at one stage – the gap opened and he was through it in a blink.

His spatial awareness, reactions and acceleration make him a remarkable athlete.

The Gazzetta compares him to Cipo – in terms of total wins and at the same age.

Cav has his own brolly girl.
Cav has his own brolly girl.

Total wins: Cipo 189/Cav 86

But at 26: Cipo ‘only’ 59.

Giro tappa: Cipo 42 total, 10 at 26 against Cav’s 10.

Tour stages: Cipo 12 total, 1 at 26 against Cav’s 20.

Vuelta stages: Cipo 0; Cav 3.

Classics: Cipo 4 (3 Gent-Wevelgems and 1 Primavera) with 2 GW by 26; Cav 1 Primavera.

Maglia rosa: Cipo 6, but 0 at 26 to Cav’s 3.

The Gazzetta loves him – 9.5 out of 10 he gets today, Modolo gets 7, Goss 4.

We were up early yesterday and in Savona with plenty of time to spare.

The angle for the day was ‘the velocista’ – the sprinters.

The bus park was our source and were round and round it for a couple of hours, snapping the sprinters and their bikes.

There’s never really been a replacement for Cipo.

The current crop are low key compared to Cipo with his tiger suits, Roman emperor outfit and outspoken comments; ‘talk to Abdoujaparov about his erratic sprinting? I never plead with a woman!’

Ferrari has a touch of pizzaz with his big hair; but he’ll need to add to that Montecatini win – even though it was beautifully executed – before we can call him a ‘big’ sprinter.

Roberto Ferrrari was a little bit of a ‘second string’ sprinter until two days ago when he won stage 11 in Montecatini, people will take him more seriously, now.

For the first time, we watched the roll out, yesterday.

It was crazy!

We were able to walk right through the peloton to get to the front for Cav pics.

There were no crowd control barriers and it all had the air of organised chaos.

Savona
Mark Renshaw – when he was with Cav at HTC he was the ‘best lead out man in the world.’

The start director was going daft trying to keep it all in hand – he was a relieved man when the last vehicle rolled out.

We caught up with the race as it passed under a flyover at a toll pay station, where we were stopped.

Savona
How did Ed get up there?

Everyone had expected a rocket launched start – GreenEdge were on the rollers – but it didn’t happen.

There were two away, the gap was yawning and whilst the bunch was in a long, drawn out line, it wasn’t warp factor. We chose a bar and settled down to watch the finale as I began to write up my words.

It wasn’t the most riveting of stages, but Cav’s sprint did top the day off in style.

Today (Saturday) is a different Giro – Goss, Lancaster, Renshaw and JJ Haedo have all gone.

Cav stays, though – you don’t quit with the maglia rosso on your back.

The reason for the fast twitch exodus is that whilst the first 130 K are flat, there are two first cat GPMs in the last 70 K with the first mountain top finish.

Savona
This year Matt Goss has started quietly with a view to peaking for the Giro – and later, the Olympics.

We’ll close with a cliche; ‘you can’t win the Giro, today – but you can lose it.’

A domani.

Savona
We’re in the ‘Cafe 4 Venti,’ somewhere, the race is on TV and there are 10 K to go.