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Back 6.2.2009

Zipp Giro Recap: Cervélo’s Grand Tour debut a success; Garmin and Saxo build for July

Ignatas Konovalovas’ unexpected win in the Giro’s final stage was the culmination of Cervélo TestTeam’s success in its first crack at a three-week Grand Tour. Ignatas, a second-year pro and just 23 years old, rode a Zipp 900 disc and 808 front wheel to beat Garmin-Slipstream’s Bradley Wiggins – also on Zipp – by 1 second on the technical course with several cobblestone sections.

Eight days earlier, Simon Gerrans kicked off Cervélo TestTeam’s winning run – they took four of the final eight stages – when he outlasted a dozen breakaway companions to capture the first-year team’s inaugural Grand Tour stage win. Simon chose a set of Zipp 404s for the fourteenth stage’s varied terrain.

Of course, the big stories for Cervélo were Carlos Sastre’s two mountaintop stage wins and 4th place overall finish. Riding a set of Zipp 202s, Carlos attacked on the final climb of the rugged 16th stage and won atop Monte Petrano after more than 7 hours on the bike. On stage 19, Carlos attacked the leaders on the decisive climb of Mt. Vesuvius and rode away from Ivan Basso to win the stage. The result moved him past Basso into 4th overall.

Impressively for a new program and a young Giro squad, Cervélo TestTeam finished with all 9 riders in Rome.

Aided by Zipp’s full range of aero wheels, Garmin-Slipstream showed their ability against the clock with a second place finish in the Giro’s opening team time trial and Wiggins’ near-miss in the final stage. Garmin’s emerging sprint star Tyler Farrar racked up five top-5 stage finishes and Danny Pate came within a few meters of winning stage 18. Unfortunately for the boys in argyle, Christian Vande Velde’s crashed out of the Giro on stage 3.

Team Saxo Bank’s top rider was Lars Bak, who finished in 20th overall. The Danish squad rode aggressively throughout the Giro and made it to Rome with all their riders except Fabian Cancellara, who left early to continue his Tour de France preparations. The Giro also marked Torsten Schmidt’s first Grand Tour as a directeur sportif.

Photo: (C) Tim De Waele