Leonardo Piepoli wins at the top
Danilo Di Luca tried to go alone but couldn’t make the move stick
A failed attack by Danilo Di Luca inside the final five kilometres was countered by an attack by Leonardo Piepoli, a move which he later converted into a stage win.
Maglia Rosa wearing Marco Pinotti struggled on the 14% average gradient of the final climb into Santuario Nostra Signora della Guardia. Andrea Noè (Liquigas), finishing 10th across the line took the fabled pink jersey.
Joking on his win, Noè said: “I consider this pink jersey as a career prize. Wearing again the pink jersey after nine years is a great personal satisfaction, but above all this is an important result for the team that is demonstrating to be very strong day by day. Today Danilo has proved to be the rider with the best form”.
Piepoli thanked team mate Simoni for his stage win: “I must thank Simoni once again. Just like last year, it was he who told me to take off. At first, they probably let me go because I wasn´t one of the favourites, but then, when they powered away, I did it well. I don´t have the GC in mind, because we´re here to help Gibo, so there´s no sense in wasting our energy in other goals. Riccò could covet the white jersey of the best young rider, but as his excellent performance today shows, our main aim is standing by our captain.”
Gilberto Simoni: “I´m very happy for Leo. I encouraged him to break clear because I wanted to see what the favourites did. He could win or he could make a selection, but in the end we did both. Riccò has been fantastic. He stood by me in the toughest moments and then he set things up for my move, completing SAUNIER DUVAL-PRODIR´s great picture.”