Koldo Gil is the Deserving Winner of Giro Stage 7

After I got home from a 26-mile ride on Saturday, I sat down to watch Stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia on the Outdoor Life Network. Since it's the weekend, U.S. cycling fans get same-day coverage on television-- which is much appreciated after a work week of webcasts without commentary.

I wanted to mention that I was happy to see Liberty Seguros cyclist Koldo Gil win the stage on Saturday after the mishap he had during Stage 3. He collided with a TV crew motorcycle on the mountain just before the race arrived in Giffoni Valle Piana. As a result, he needed to stop for a wheel change and didn't have the opportunity to contend for the Stage 3 victory.

Gil has been the most aggressive rider during the hilly road stages, so it's good to see him get a stage victory.

Stage 7 was the first time I'd seen the new 3-kilometer crash rule invoked in a professional cycling race. Liquigas-Bianchi rider Stefano Garzelli crashed in a turn with about 2 kilometers to go. The new rule has been adopted by the UCI in order to try to prevent the severe crashes that often occur when a large group of riders is trying to stay together in the last few minutes of a race.

In previous years, Garzelli would have had to go down within 1000 meters of the finish in order to be given the same finish time (for the purpose of General Classification standings) as the group of riders riding with him at the time that did not crash. In 2005, the UCI extended the zone where this rule takes effect to within 3 kilometers of the finish line.

Garzelli took his time coming across the finish line. I'm sure some people who saw the race on television would be critical of that. It was clear, however, that he and his team knew the rule and expected it to be invoked. I hope that Garzelli was not injured in a way that makes 100-percent effort in the high mountains difficult for him.