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miércoles, 11 de junio de 2008

GIRO D´ITALIA 2008 (This article is available in English and Español)

Last week another edition of the Giro d'Italia concluded. It is one of the most attractive and combative races of the professional road cyclist season because we can find 2 important circumstances: spectacular and complete stages- the road bicycles have to climb up mythical mountains as the Mortirolo or Gabia- and many Italian road bicyclers, who are possibly the most offensive, combative and with a higher winning mentality of the professional “peloton” and they dominate this race perfectly-in fact, until this year, the last no Italian winner was the elegant Russian Pavel Tonkov in 1996.-

Besides this year, the Giro has been another ingredient, the participation of the Spanish bicycler Alberto Contador-winner of the Tour de France 2007 – of the Team Astana. He was the protagonist of this race, because he was the winner of the Italian round, which has been very worthwhile because the Spanish champion did not know anything about his presence in the Italian race a week before the start of the Giro-in fact Contador was on holidays-, since the Team Astana had problems with doping cases in the past and now they are suffering the consequences with the exclusion of the some races like the Tour de France –we think that this Tour de France´s decision is totally unfair because it we compare the Team Astana 2007 and Team Astana 2008, we can see that it is a different team, with a new director, Johan Bruyneel, and new riders as Alberto Contador. So, we think that they should take part in the races and if they have problems with doping during race, then they must receive a punishment, but we know the bicycler´s world, where there is not the presumption of innocence and you must prove that you are not guilty (one example was the Spanish slipshod "operations Puerto". It was a supposed blood doping´s network and many bicyclers, as the German cyclist Jan Ullrich, were linked, but nothing was clear in this case)-.

But fortunately, and especially by Italian interests in a gas pipeline in Kazakhstan-obviously the team Astana is from Kazakhstan-the team Astana and Alberto Contador could be in the race, although he arrived to the start not very well, cause, as we said before, Alberto Contador was on holidays and he had not the necessary preparation to compete during 3 weeks in this difficult race and in fact he arrived to Italy with one idea, to come back to Spain after the stage 5. But gradually Contador was finding better and he was able to fight for final victory, which it succeeded thanks to his tremendous level both to climb up mountain as to be competitive in the individual time trial, being an unbeatable bicycler if he has the correct preparation, as he has shown many times-one example is his easy victory of the difficult “Vuelta to the Basque Country”this year. In addition Contador has one merit, since he suffered an important illness in his brain (cerebral cavernoma)-tremendous TV´s images in the Tour of Asturias 4 years ago, when he suffered an attack with many convulsions during the race-. He was some period retired but finally he won the cerebral cavernoma´s battle and he was able to continue with his normal and professional live. But after the cerebral cavernoma, he had another problem, the mentioned “Operacion Puerto”, since although he had not a relation with the network, his team disappeared and he could not compete until he arrived in January 2007 to the Team Discovery Channel of the legendary American bicycler, Lance Armstrong, where he was progressing in an impressive way, and he won the Tour de France 2007, which is the most prestigious race of the year and as I said before this year he can not compete unfairly, since his team is excluded due to the Alexandre Vinokorouv or Andrey Kachekin´s problems with doping last year-but as Contador says, there are more races and if the Tour de France does not want the Team Astana, it is a Tour de France´s problem, because it will not have sensational bicyclers, who can compete in other races as the Giro d'Italia or la Vuelta a España in September-if Contador wins la Vuelta España, he will add his name to the legendary bicyclers Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault, who are the only bicyclers with victories in the 3 big races (Tour de France, Giro d´Italia and Vuelta España).
Of course, although it is a pity that Contador and other Astana´s bicyclers as Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden can not be in the French race, the Tour de France will be a spectacle and we must pay attention to many bicyclers as Cadel Evans and Yaroslav Popovich ( team Lotto); or Carlos Sastre, Fred Schleck and Bobby Julich's (team CSC );or Markus Fothen of Geroslteiner; or Alejandro Valverde and Vladimir Karpets of Caisse d'Epargne; or Haimar Zubeldia and Samuel Sanchez of Euskaltel Euskadi; or Kim Kirchen of High Road; or Christian Vandevelde of Slipstream Chipotle;or Christophe Moreau ( Agritubel);or Damiano Cunego – he can be the final winner- (Lampre);or Denis Menchov of Rabobank.

But we can not conclude this article without mention the other protagonists of the Giro d'Italia, since we must remark the excellent level of the Italian team CSF-Navigare –it is a modest team but it was the best team in the Giro d'Italia 2008 – with bicyclers as Fortunato Baliani, Domenico Pozzovivo or Mexican Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio and of course with the competitive and spectacular Emanuele Sella, who has done an impressive and spectacular Giro, since he always attacked and he won the 3 most important stages -with mountains such as the Marmolada or Alpe Di Pampeado- and he also finished second in a difficult individual time trial and he was the best climber in the Giro-although with a style not very orthodox.-.We must say thanks to team CSF-Navigare, because this attitude is the best thing that a professional bicycler can show . Bravo!

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