Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) was pleased to be gaining time on many of his overall rivals at the Giro d?Italia but accused Contador of not doing his part in the attack and insinuated that the 2007 Tour de France winner secretly prepared for the Giro and was not on holiday when Astana got a late invitation.

?Now we know more who the real contenders for overall victory,? Ricco said after finishing sixth on the stage and gaining 51 seconds Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), Andreas Kloden (Astana), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Paolo Savoldelli (LPR), Levi Leipheimer (Astana), Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas).

?It?s always good to gain time. It?s just a pity that Contador didn?t help us. We got angry with him at one point but he refused to ride on the front. And just sat there.?

?He?s always said he?s not very fit because he was on holiday when Astana were given a late invitation to the Giro but he?s been telling lies. Even if he?s a phenomenon, he can?t ride that well if he was lying on a beach ten days ago.?

Contador responded with a smile: ?I?m surprised with how well I rode as well. This was one of the important stages of the Giro d?Italia,? he said, clearly knowing he Ricco flustered and all the Italians worried he can get even better in the final week of the Giro.

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS

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

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. New photos added daily

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES

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