Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) and Danilo Di Luca (LPR) finally made a serious attack during Friday?s stage 19 to Monte Pora and both gained important chunks of time, even if they did not manage to take the maglia rosa from Alberto Contador (Astana).
Ricco is now four seconds behind Contador and Di Luca is third at just 21 seconds.
Both lost two minutes in the stage ten time trial and seemed unlikely to topple Contador but now their aggressive riding has totally reopened the Giro d?Italia.
Saturday?s final mountain stage over the Gavia and Mortirolo will be vital if they are to gain enough time on Contador to hold of the Spaniard in the final time trial to Milan in Sunday.
RICCO ANGRY WITH CSF GROUP RIDERS
Ricco was livid at missing out on the pink jersey by just four seconds after the finish.
He was swore to himself when he sat down to get changed and never smiled on the podium as he pulled on the white jersey as best young rider.
On television he made it clear he was angry with Emanuele Sella and other CSF Group riders who seemed to help Contador chase him in the final kilometres.
?I?m anger because I couldn?t get it on the 53 chain ring in last two kilometres and because I want to ask Sella and Pozzovivo if they will win the Giro with their attacks. Contador always had someone to help him,? Ricco fumed.
?They should have stayed on his wheel and benefited from Contador having to chase but perhaps their directeur sportif told then to work.?
?I just want to clarify that on the contrary to what some people have said, I?ve always dropped Contador on the Giro climbs. Now I hope to work with Danilo (Di Luca) and hope the CSF team don?t work behind?.?
Emanuele Sella of the CSF Group team tried to justify his attacks and spells on the front in the final kilometres but his works lacked conviction. Ricco has already labelled him as a traitor, along with Jurgen Van den Broeck (Silence) who also helped Contador chase in the final kilometres.
DI LUCA: ?WE PULLED OFF AN IMPRESSIVE ATTACK?
Di Luca insisted it was not important to have taken the pink jersey and was clearly proud of his text-book attack on the rain-soaked descent of the Passo del Vivione with team mate Paolo Savoldelli.
?We?ve been criticised earlier in the Giro but we showed we know how to race well,? Di Luca said proudly.
?Like always Savoldelli was exceptional. I went away first and then he came across to me. Giairo Ermeti was in the break and so he dropped back and give us a good hand as well.?
?We pulled off an impressive attack. The Giro is wide open and now we?ll see what happens in Saturday?s stage. I?ve gone deep but I?m ready to attack again. I?ve always said the Giro ends in Milan on Sunday.
?I might not win the Giro but whoever does will have beat me. Nobody should ever dismiss Di Luca.?
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage 19: Contador hangs on to race lead
Stage 18: Voigt wins Giro d’Italia ‘Worlds’ stage in Varese
Stage 17: Cav gifts Greipel the stage
Stage 16: Pellizotti wins mountain time trial
Stage 15: Sella strikes again in the mountains
Stage 14: Sella wins first Giro mountains stage
Stage 13: Easy victory for super-fast Cavendish
Stage 12: Bennati gets photo finish verdict over Cavendish
Stage 11: Bertolini wins hilly stage
Stage 10: Bruseghin wins Giro d’Italia time trial
Stage nine: Cavendish misses out in sprint
Stage eight: Ricco wins again
Stage seven: Di Luca, Ricco and Contador gain time on rivals
Stage six: Italians clean up
Stage five: Millar denied by snapped chain
Stage four: Cavendish wins
Stage three: Bennati romps home
Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage
Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: NEWS
Contador, Ricco and Simoni to face off in final Giro d’Italia mountains
Six Brits finish mountain time trial [stage 16]
Cavendish disappointed after missing out in Giro sprint
Can Cavendish win the Giro today? [stage 12]
Aggressive Cummings comes away empty handed [stage six]
Millar speaks out after missing out in Giro [stage five]
Reaction to Cavendish’s Giro stage win
Cav hits back at Pozzato’s snipe
Cavendish: This is my biggest win [stage four]
Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success
Bettini looking for final Giro glory
Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro
Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive
Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: PHOTOS
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week three – new photos added daily
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week two – new photos added daily
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week one.
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES
Five days to go, what’s in store?
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Cycling Weekly’s all-time list of British pro winners
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Rest day 1: How the favourites are doing
Giro Britannia part two: From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Tuesday Comment (May 13): Why Cavendish is a bona fide world-class star
Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview
Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming
Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule