Blazin' Saddles

Trivial Pursuit

Blazin' Saddles

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As far as ideas go, it's about as good as buying a pair of non-refundable British Airways return tickets to Bangkok (via Reykjavik) for a two-week honeymoon in Thailand, packing only a collection of red shirts and using your projected winnings from that bet on Cesc Fabregas being top scorer at Arsenal next season to get you there.

It was, in the ever eloquent words of Greg Henderson, a "monumental cock up by the maglia rosa" to allow 56 - yes, 56! - riders clear after just 20km of the longest stage in this year's Giro.

What were Vinokourov and Astana thinking? With the rain lashing down pretty much all day, the washed-up peloton were soon despairingly chasing shadows.

Calling the pink jersey group the peloton is actually doing the word a disservice. There were probably more men up in front than alongside Vino. In fact, the leaders were more numerous than a pack of cards. Fittingly, the jokers had been left behind.

If ever there was a real need for motorised doping, it was within the bike frames of Messrs Vinokourov, Evans, Basso and Nibali - for the net result was cycling's equivalent of the devastating earthquake that ravaged Wednesday's finish town of L'Aquila last year.

The GC was turned on its head. The last time something like this happened, Oscar Pereiro won the Tour de France. Bradley Wiggins and Carlos Sastre, so underwhelming for the first 10 days (except the Brit's prologue scalp), are now right back in it.

A rookie called Richie has upgraded his white jersey for pink. Before stage 11, the only chance of that happening would have been if he'd put a red sock in his post-race jersey wash.

Vino, now more than 10 minutes down on Saxo's Porte, tried to remain upbeat, stressing there was still 10 more days left to run. But deep down, the Kazakh will know he could well have blown his chance of overall victory.

"People said Sastre was done after the Terminillo - that's not the case," Vino deadpanned. Correction: Sastre was done - but you guys somehow contrived to bring his crumbled body back to life.

Gosh - Saddles has to say it - but what will the world come to if a rider as average as Sastre plunders not one, but two Grand Tour wins?

Cadel Evans, who only gets angry when fatties stand on his dog, took it on the chin while, typically, washing away all responsibility of his role in the disaster: "Race leader leaves 56 in the break. Not normal, but neither is this race!"

A tad disingenuous from the Australian, but then again, without any team-mates he can hardly be expected to lead a counter-attack single-handedly.

Spoils for the day went to Russia's Evgeni Petrov of Katusha, who became the sixth rider to have picked up a maiden Grand Tour stage win on this year's extraordinary race.

The upcoming mountain stages are going to be a pleasure to watch - no one can afford to sit back and watch anymore.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Hands down, without a doubt the most miserable day ever experienced on a bike." BMC's Brent Bookwalter should spare a thought for his team leader.

Follow Blazin' Saddles throughout the Giro on

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