2012 Giro; Stage 18- Guardini gives it some gas!
Ok, so I jumped the gun with my stage report last night and said that today would be stage 19, rather than 18… so today was stage 18, not 19. Tomorrow is 19. Ok… now that we have that clear.
On to stage 18…
Andrea Guardini of Farnese-Vini added another stage win to the stage 15 win of Rabottini, giving the small squad an impressive list of accomplishments this year. BUt, what makes this win so much more exciting is that Guardini has been knocking on the door of a big win for some time now. He’s been the winningest rider for the past two years at the Tour de Langkawi, but has struggled to get a win in Europe against the bigger teams. What’s more, Guardini snatched the seemingly obvious win away from Mark Cavendish in a stellar display of speed that clearly caught Cav’ by surprise… certainly sent the little prince into a tizzy on the team bus. Guardini has the speed of Cavendish- and then some, as he showed today- but has to rely much more on his own freelancing of the sprints, much like his stated idol, Robbie McEwen had to do for most of his career. His struggle to get over the Giro’s climbs has been well-documented, but he’s managed to make the suffering worthwhile. Now that he’s proven that he can beat the best sprinter currently in the world, his confidence is only going to be bolstered… and that should scare the crap out of his fellow sprinters. Given the right help from his team, he should continue to progress as one of the top sprinting prospects of the next several years, since he’s still in his very early 20’s. I’m looking forward to seeing many more sprints between Guardini and Cavensdish in the coming years.
The race unfolded fairly formulaically with breaks getting away long enough to get TV time, but then things got back to the script with Sky getting Cav set up for the assured win… until Guardini busted through to the finish line and wizzed in their punchbowl.
Long live the party crashers!