Any chance that Ivan Basso could win the Giro d' Italia slipped away last weekend as he suffered intestinal ills on the difficult climbs in the Dolomites.
He gave up the overall leader's jersey to Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team's Paolo Savoldelli, but the Italian CSC bicycle rider didn't give up. He hoped to salvage the Giro with a stage win, giving him momentum to take on Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France starting July 2.
Basso succeeded on Thursday, winning the ever-climbing 120-mile stage from Varazze to the mountaintop finish at Limone Piemonte. He finished a full minute ahead of the next two finishers, Gilberto Simoni and Jose Rujano Guillen.
The strong finish by Simoni brought him 25 seconds closer to overall leader Savoldelli, who now leads by 58 seconds. Simoni also passed Danilo Di Luca into second place.
The next two days will certainly finish the story: Savoldelli is expected to do well in the 21-mile individual time trial on Friday, but the steep climb up the Colle della Finestre on Saturday could be Simoni's stage.