Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Giro d'Basso

I haven't posted at all about the Giro this year. I'm not sure why, since it's been a really great race and promises to be even better over the next couple of days. The Plan de Corones climb tomorrow will be a spectacle unrivaled by any grand tour stage in many, many years.

But, let's focus on the present, shall we? Today, in Stage 16, Ivan Basso once again rode away from all the others with strength and grace unseen since, well, the last seven years when Lance Armstrong did it in the Tour. Watching Ivan Basso climb is kind of misleading, since he doesn't really look like he's climbing. More like he's taking a leisurely recovery ride through the local park.

Today was no different. Though Gilberto Simoni was able to hang with him for a while, Basso eventually rode the midget off his wheel and won his second solo mountain top finish in the Giro so far. I could write a lot more, but we'll let pictures (and clever captions) tell the story:

Photo courtesy of AFP. Captions courtesy of me.

Basso, besides being ridiculously graceful, rarely if ever seems to be straining or suffering on even the highest of mountain passes. In the 2004 Tour, as he rode to victory at La Mongie ahead of Lance, he never stopped smiling---the whole way up.

He doesn't bob like a sick pigeon (a la Francisco Mancebo), he doesn't look like his head's going to explode (see: Jan Ullrich), and he doesn't even open his mouth very far (Armstrong looked like a fish half the time). In general, all Basso does is smile, or at least grin.

That's why nobody likes him.

Photo courtesy CorVos and PezCyclingNews

Barring a major disaster, Ivan Basso has this Giro wrapped up.