The best form of defence is often to attack and Danilo Di Luca showed he is not scared of any of his rivals in the Giro d?Italia during today’s stage 10.
The three-week race has still to reach the half way point and the decisive 60.6km time trial in the Cinque Terre, but Di Luca threw caution to the wind and attacked on the descent of the late Pra Martino climb.
Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) joined him but then he powered away again on the short climb near the Pinerolo cemetery to win alone in the pink jersey and take the 20-second stage winner?s time bonus.
Pellizotti, Sastre and Menchov only lost ten seconds, but Ivan Basso (Liquigas), Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and Michael Rogers (Columbia), lost 29 second.
Menchov is now second at 1-20, Rogers is third at 1-33, Leipheimer is fourth at 1-40 and Basso is fifth at 2-03. Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia) lost 1-39 and slipped to eighth overall. With a far more solid lead, Di Luca is hoping he can keep the maglia Rosa even after Thursday?s time trial.
?The gaps are more important now. This morning I had 13 seconds, now it?s more than a minute. We?ll see if I can keep the pink jersey after the time trial,? Di Luca said, confident as ever.
He quickly refuted the idea that he is going too deep, too often and too early in the Giro.
?The other guys could be a threat later and emerge later but I don?t think they?ve been holding back either. They gave everything at Alpe di Suisi just like I did,? he said.
?I?m as strong as in 2007 but this year I?m two years older. That doesn?t mean I feel older but that I?m wiser. I?ve two more years of experience. Things are going well so far. I?m not worried about fading because all of my rivals could fade too. There isn?t a final week in the Dolomites and climbs like the Zoncolan climb. This year the Giro is different and it?s an important factor.?
?Today was different because there wasn?t a decisive climb. We were all together on the big climbs; it was the descent that made the difference. I raced it like a classic.?
Di Luca predicted that Wednesday?s stage to Arenzano will end in a sprint or be decided by breakaway as the overall contenders save their energy for Thursday?s time trial.
?I think the time trial will be a good fight between Leipheimer, Lovkvist, Rogers and Menchov,? he predicted.
?And let’s not forget Armstrong. He pulled for most of the first climb today and it was the toughest of the stages. He?s looking better and better.?
?I?m hoping to defend the pink jersey because the time trial isn?t for specialists. If it were a flat 50km time trial, I?d lose five minutes. Hopefully it will be a lot less on Thursday.?
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
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
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
Follow Cycling Weekly on Twitter>>