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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 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
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
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.
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