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Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 8: Sulmona – Lago Laceno 229km. We’re There!

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‘Lago Laceno, May 13, 2012 – Italy’s Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF Inox) won stage eight of the Giro d’Italia with a lone attack on the steep climb to Lake Laceno, near Naples.

Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) retained the overall race lead. Spain’s Joaquin Rodriguez is second at just nine seconds.’

So said the official Giro press release – you’ll read that again, on various websites.

Press releases are where much of the daily content on web sites come from.

The difference with us, is that we tell you we’re quoting them.

We’re on the race now, in the Team VeloVeritas Panda!

We had an ‘easy’ day – there was no point in tearing down to Naples, just to come back up the road, again.

Like Van Morrison says, we were; ‘kings for a day’ – just fans, with our Peronis, paninis and Gazzetta.

Panini and Peroni – perfect for the punters.

Besides, you never know if the flight will be on time, if picking the car up will be a nitemare and if the digs will be sound.

But we got the car, found the digs, had a shower and headed out in search of a bar with a tele.

It’s a myth that cycling is the biggest deal sport-wise in Italy.

Football is king, no question.

Not a soul looked at our TV – there were three monitors in the bar – all eyes were on the ‘calcio;’ fitba’ to us.

Lago Laceno
Domenico Pozzovivo celebrates.

But getting back to the press releases – they’re actually very good with lots of background info;

‘Pozzovivo is one of only a handful of professional riders from the south of Italy and got a huge cheer from the local crowd in Lake Laceno, the most southern point in this year’s race.

“I’m perhaps too little to think big, I’ll take things day by day and do as well as I can,” the diminutive rider said.

“This year’s Giro was wrongly described as being easy compared to the past. I’d say it’s more humane compared to 2011, which was really tough.

I finished ninth at the (2008) Giro d’Italia and was strong in the third week, so I’m confident about the final week in the mountains this year’s Giro d’Italia.

“I’m a pure climber and I think about music to motivate me when I’m racing. I also try to get to the top as quickly as possible to get the climb over with. My favourite climbs are the Mortirolo, Passo Giau and Punto Veleno. The ones I least like are the Zoncolan, the Mortirolo and the Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

“I don’t like wet descents or on dirt roads like last year to Orvieto. I also don’t like the Vivione and the Gavia descents.”

Lago Laceno
Ryder retains his lead.

Hesjedal said:

“It was a tough day. I had to buckle down, keep in contact and defend the jersey. I got over the top of the steep part of the climb and so I was ok.

“It was reported that I’m not here to win the pink jersey but I want to correct that. I came here to give my best. That’s my goal. I feel I’m doing that; I’m leading the Giro. I’m just focused on doing my best.

“We’ll see how the rest of the race develops.”

If Garmin do nothing else in this Giro, it doesn’t matter; despite losing fast man Farrar, they’ve won the coveted TTT and had at least five days in pink.

On Monday they should make that six – it’s a ‘sprinter stage,’ running north along the foot of the Appenninos to Frosinone with little chance for the feather weights to fly.

Despite Pozzovivo’s excellent win, he barely makes the front page of the Gazzetta, just a wee mention.

Meanwhile, Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini gets his picture on the front page.

Lago Laceno
Today’s Gazzetta. Finally, it’s Italy’s day.

But inside there are eight pages of Giro news – Pozzovivo gets 9.5 out of 10 for his six hours and six minutes shift.

Rodriguez gets 8 for his sprint to grab the third place bonus; Basso is on 7.5 and Hesjedal on 7, as is Scarponi.

But ‘The Little Prince,’ Damiano Cunego is on 5 – that’s what happens if you get dropped in the finale.

Today’s stage finishes in Frosinone, we’re here now, to collect our credentials having just driven the last 30 K of the stage.

Until 10 to go, it’s fast, flat and easy for the lead out trains to control.

But in the last 12 minutes or so of riding it gets highly technical – tight bends, stiff little snaps with steep, dangerous drops off the other side over slick urban pavement.

And a tight, tight 135 degree turn with 400 to go.

Can Cav. make it three?

We’ll know come tea time.

Ciao, ciao!

Result - Giro d’Italia 2012 –