I guess I'm not as surprised as a lot of people that Paolo Salvodelli won the Giro d'Italia. The biggest reason I'm not too surprised he won is because the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team hired him to captain their Giro effort. Maybe there weren't a lot of other Giro General Classification contenders available when Discovery had to decide who to hire, but they picked a pretty crafty rider who found a way to hang on with minimal team support in the high mountains.
Salvodelli's achivement looms larger for me because I watched Floyd Landis suffer mightily with the yellow jersey in the Tour de Georgia, unable to personally answer every attack in Stages 4 and 5. Salvodelli had as little of his own team's help in the Italian mountains as Landis did in Georgia. The difference is that Salvodelli found a way to win anyway.
Everyone's talking about how great this Giro was in comparison to its recent predecessors and they're definitely right to make the comparison. I was really curious what was happening in the race while I was up in Vermont with Kathleen on our mini-vacation (although I never let my curiosity interrupt what we were doing). If our vacation had fallen in the middle of last year's Giro, I would have forgotten about the race after we were an hour away from our house.
The parts of Stage 19 that I have been able to see on my TiVo have been terrific. I'm hoping to have time to watch the climb up to Sestriere tomorrow morning.
Graham Watson wrote a great summary of Stage 20 and retrospective on the Giro for ThePaceline.com. I've always admired Watson's photography, but I didn't realize how good he is as a writer and a cycling analyst. [ Registration required for ThePaceline.com articles. ]