Denis Menchov let out a roar of raw emotion a few seconds after winning the 2009 Giro d’Italia. Even for the quiet Russian, the emotions of his last kilometre crash and the risk of losing the Giro to rival Danilo Di Luca were too much to control.

Later, after meeting the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Menchov was his usual self but was clearly proud to have won the Giro d’Italia.

“I was always in control during the Giro but when I crossed the line I knew all the stress of the last three weeks was over and so I let myself go. Winning was a huge satisfaction,” he said in his final winner’s press conference.

“The Vuelta I won was very normal kind of race with the mountains and then the time trial. This Giro was different. It was closely fought right to the end. That makes it more special for me. It’s the biggest win of my career because it’s also the centenary Giro, because the level of riders in the Giro, because of all the media attention.”

CRASH IN THE FINAL KILOMETRE

Menchov still managed to beat Di Luca by 21 seconds in the time trial and so won overall by 41 seconds. Italy’s Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) was third at 1-59.

Di Luca started very fast, using his road bike and normal wheels. He was five seconds up on Menchov at the first time checkpoint, which surprised the Russian, but then he faded and Menchov knew he was about to win. At least until his crash in the final kilometre.

“When I heard he was up on me I panicked a little I thought ‘ooh’. I thought ‘I’m going well but he’s four or five seconds faster’. Fortunately after three more kilometres I had new info and I was 12 secs in front. Then a few kilometres later I got new info, everything going well so I keep going and was confident I’d be okay.”

“When I crashed I didn’t have time to think. I had info that everything was okay and was told ‘no risk, no panic’ from the team car. They told me I had half a minute so I didn’t panic. I just took a new bike and finished the stage.”


Giro d’Italia 2009 links

Stage reports

Stage 21: Menchov wins 2009 Giro; Wiggins second in TT

Stage 20: Gilbert springs late attack to win penultimate stage

Stage 19: Sastre takes second Giro mountain stage; Menchov safe in pink

Stage 18: Second Giro stage win for Scarponi

Stage 17: Pellizotti wins on Blockhaus, Menchov remains in pink

Giro rest day review (May 26)

Stage 16: Sastre wins stage to Monte Petrano

Stage 15: Bertagnolli gifted stage win by Cervelo mix-up

Stage 14: Gerrans solos to win

Stage 13: Cavendish takes his third Giro win and prepares to head home

Stage 12: Menchov storms to Giro TT win and race lead

Stage 11: Cavendish romps to second Giro stage win

Stage 10: Di Luca lays down the gauntlet

Giro rest day review (May 18)

Stage nine: Cavendish blitzes rivals to win in Milan

Stage eight: Siutsou makes it two in a row for Columbia-Highroad

Stage seven: Boasson Hagen takes treacherous stage

Stage six: Scarponi wins longest stage with big break

Stage five: Menchov wins mountain battle as Di Luca grabs the pink jersey

Stage four: Di Luca denies Soler on the line; Lovkvist takes pink jersey

Stage three: Cavendish loses pink jersey after being caught behind late crash

Stage two: Petacchi denies Cavendish the stage win

Stage one: Cavendish in pink as Columbia prove their point to Garmin

Photo galleries

Stage 20 photo gallery

Stage 19 photo gallery

Stage 18 photo gallery

Stage 17 photo gallery

Stage 16 photo gallery

Stage 15 photo gallery

Stage 14 photo gallery

Stage 13 photo gallery

Stage 12 photo gallery

Stage 11 photo gallery

Stage 10 photo gallery

Stage nine photo gallery

Stage eight photo gallery

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one photo gallery

Desktop wallpaper photos

News

Wiggins: Next stop, Tour de France prologue

Swift in final big break of 2009 Giro

Menchov refuses to celebrate Giro success before final time trial

Di Luca accepts Giro defeat

Di Luca still hoping to snatch Giro lead from Menchov

Wiggins getting ready for final Giro TT

Menchov brushes off boos and doping questions after the Blockhaus

Di Luca promises to fight to the end of the Giro

Garmin at the Giro: And then there were five

Stannard sees Rome after birthday pain

Di Luca out to topple Menchov on the Blockhaus

Bruyneel tips Menchov to win Giro

Giro Britannia: A long, hot slog in Italy

Leipheimer: Lance had to wait for me today (Stage 16)

Millar climbs off and heads home from Giro

Basso discovers he has few friends at the Giro (stage 15)

Froome agonisingly close to stage victory (stage 14)

Cavendish quits the Giro d’Italia

Cheeky Cipo sneaks a ride in the Giro

Cavendish: His most important Giro win yet (stage 13)

Comment: Lance vs the press, some things never change

Menchov’s first pink jersey (Stage 12)

Wiggins: ‘I went too hard at the start’ (Stage 12 TT)

Lance and Levi: Ready for Giro time trial

Cavendish: ‘Today brought back memories of San Remo’ (stage 11)

Is Di Luca trying too hard, too soon?

Wiggins loses time in the Giro (stage 10)

Armstrong and Basso say sorry for Giro protest

How are the Giro favourites doing?

Cavendish says ‘I’m addicted to winning’

Riders stage go-slow protest during Giro stage in Milan

Cavendish cool before Milan sprint

No sympathy for Armstrong from Giro boss

Boasson Hagen celebrates his birthday early

Cavendish overjoyed for Boasson Hagen

Armstrong ‘livid’ at dangerous Giro stage

Astana riders wear faded kit in protest over unpaid wages

Armstrong sees Leipheimer in pink

Giro news round-up: 14 May

Wiggins: ‘I can’t keep smashing away on the climbs’

Wiggins eyes top 20 finish overall

Armstrong after Giro stage 5: ‘That was hard’

Cavendish looking for Giro revenge

Armstrong happy with stage four performance

Lovkvist will fight to keep Giro lead

Giro could be last race for Armstrong’s team

Vande Velde crashes out of Giro

Petacchi claims he didn’t know of Cavendish crash

Cavendish struggles to find consolation in pink jersey

Petacchi: I’ve been working out how to beat Cav

I’m wearing pink on behalf of the team, says Cavendish

Wiggins ready to win Giro team time trial

Friday, May 8: Giro news round-up

Cavendish out to topple Garmin in Giro team time trial

Team time trial start times

Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia top ten prediction

Brits in Venice for Giro presentation

Armstrong overshadows overall favourites at Giro presentation

Armstrong confident of finding new sponsor for Astana

Armstrong working to save Astana team

Wiggins in top form for Giro

Garmin Slipstream kitted out for Giro opener

Dan Lloyd gets late Giro call-up

Armstrong’s special Giro bikes unveiled

Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride

Cummings and Thomas not selected for Giro d’Italia

Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie

David Millar confirms he’s riding in 2009 Giro

Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints

2009 Giro d’Italia to start in Venice

Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride

Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro

Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d’Italia route

Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey

2009 Giro d’Italia guide and features

Find the pink jersey competition

Giro d’Italia 2009: The Big Preview

British riders to have led the grand tours

CW’s Giro top ten prediction

Brits in the Giro 2009

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d’Italia


2008 Giro d’Italia archive

Giro d’Italia 2008 coverage index – race reports, photos, results

From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia

Giro 2008: The final word on this year’s race

Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special

Five days to go, what’s in store?

Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)

Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)

Giro d’Italia 2008 preview

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NOW FOR THE TOUR DE FRANCE

Menchov is the third Russian to win the Giro after Evgeni Berzin in 1994 and Pavel Tonkov in 1996.

He has won the Vuelta in 2005 and 2007 but considers his Giro win the high point of his career. Although the Tour de France is now also a major target.

“I think the performance at the Giro d’Italia was my best ever. I don’t know why but before the Giro I felt very good and very fresh. I was confident I could do it and that I’d even finish the Giro well. I don’t know why. I hope it’s a natural and a logical progression. I’ve been improving over the last few years and people say I’m at the perfect age between 30-35.”

“The Giro is a very, very, very important win for me and the team for lots of reasons. Now I think I can win the Tour de France. I’m one of the best riders in the world but it all depends on what happens in the race. You need to be lucky and have the team to support you; there are a lot of factors involved. I think I can win the Tour de France but I don’t know if I will.”

“I finished this race very good, I feel fresh mentally and physically fresh but every race is different. I could be in the same form at the Tour de France but might not get the same result. However, this win definitely gives me more confidence to try and win the Tour de France.”

Menchov gave the Rabobank team its first ever Giro stage victory when he won in San Martino di Castrozza in the Dolomites. Now overall victory will mean he will start the 2010 race in Amsterdam wearing number one.