Joaquin Rodriguez wears the Giro d'Italia's pink jersey after his stage win yesterday in Assisi, but other teams pull the strings. After he took over the jersey, he explained that his Katusha team will have to work off the stronger teams.
"We will have to play off of Liquigas, Lampre and Astana," Rodriguez said in a press conference. "They will make the difference and we have to stay with him."
The three teams controlled the race through the medium mountain stages Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Katusha took advantage yesterday, setting up Rodriguez for the win and overall lead.
He leads by 17 seconds over Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), who held the jersey for three days. Astana's Roman Kreuziger is in fourth overall at 32 seconds, Liquigas's Ivan Basso in sixth at 57 seconds and Lampre's Michele Scarponi at 1-11 minutes.
Basso suffered two crashes in races this spring and started the race behind schedule. He said that he had his doubts heading into the race and started behind form. In these days, he's fine-tuning for the mountains ahead.
Scarponi inherited last year's title after Alberto Contador received an anti-doping suspension. This year, he tweaked his schedule to win the race outright.
"He worked less in his lead up to the Giro compared to last year to start a little bit behind. He showed in Rocca di Cambio to be strong, he showed in Lago Laceno, gained seconds," Lampre's team manager, Roberto Damiani told Cycling Weekly.
Damiani has years of experience with Mapei and with Cadel Evans at Belgium's Lotto team. He laughed at the idea that riders like Basso and Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) calculate their form.
"If they can make these calculations, they're good. I see Michele Scarponi going well, he's in a good place already in the overall and I think he can have a good Giro. I don't know if he's at 90 or 100 percent, the road will decide. After 30 years in the business, I'm only ever able to understand a rider's condition afterwards."
Rodriguez said that he had good condition. Over the winter, he took aim for the classics and the Giro. He won the Flèche Wallonne and now holds the pink jersey.
"I talked to [Angel] Vicioso this morning, saying how we weren't really feeling the effort of the race," Rodriguez said. "It's a good sign."
Giro d'Italia 2012: Latest news
Hesjedal happy with Giro performance despite losing lead
Pinotti alters Giro plans after losing time in mountains
Pozzato apologises for role in causing crash
Hesjedal has tough day as Giro leader
Schleck building form in Giro for final week in Alps
English speakers on top
Giro favourites to make move in first mountain finish
Malori will relish time in Giro lead
Sky's Giro team time trial disappointment
Phinney's terrible day sees Giro lead slip away
Teams ready for Giro's team time trial
Phinney given all-clear after Giro crash
Ferrari should be ashamed of Giro sprint, says Cavendish
Giro remembers Wouter Weylandt
Cavendish and Thomas a winning combo, says Brailsford
Geraint Thomas narrowly misses out on Giro lead
Phinney realises Giro dream
Giro d'Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d'Italia 2012 live text coverage schedule
Giro d'Italia 2012: Stage reports
Stage 10: Rodriguez wins thrilling finale to take leadStage nine: Ventoso wins in Frosinone as Goss and Cavendish fall
Stage eight: Pozzovivo takes another Giro win
Stage seven: Hesjedal moves into Giro lead
Stage six: Rubiano solos to epic Giro stage win
Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win
Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead
Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash
Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning
Stage one: Phinney wins time trial
Giro d'Italia 2012: Photo galleries
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
Giro d'Italia 2012: Teams and riders
Giro d'Italia 2012 start list
Giro d'Italia 2012: TV guide
Giro d'Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule
Giro d'Italia 2012: The Big Preview
Cycling Weekly's Giro d'Italia section
Seven men jailed for stealing bikes worth £70k from Rutland Cycling shop
Police caught the gang of thieves who had stolen 23 bikes from the chain store in Grafham Water
By Ryan Dabbs •
These are all the teams applying for WorldTeam and Women’s WorldTeam status next year
Qhubeka-NextHash miss the first deadline, as five women’s teams apply to step up to the top level
By Alex Ballinger •