Archive for May, 2008
Good Morning, Evening, wherever you maybe in the world,
Putting up a few images from right inside the Giro… L to R: The start of a down hill ski race, or a finish line for cycling time trial I’m not sure. Not often you need gears like this for a TT, thats right, a 34 chainring, 27 sprocket and they were well used. Up up and more up, the last kilometer of the tt had sections of 24% gradient ouch!! and finally, heres how you get back to the hotel when you finish at the ski station. Stage7 hot work in the mountains, and a well needed coke. Stage15 rolling out of the neutral in the front, though not for long as the climbers wanted to make it tough for everyone. They sure know how to find the small nasty roads. For some reason they seem a little tight on space in Italian hotels sometimes, I’ve never seen this before, a toilet shower combo!! impressive + a few images of the scenery from today’s stage 18, and the course profile for tomorrow stage…. more big mountains!!
Thanks for reading, keep the comments rolling in, i really enjoy reading them… they give me fantastic motivation
Caio for now, Tim
The legs feel heavy and so do my eyes, I have just risen from my bed and feel like I could crawl back under the sheets for a week to recover, but the tour goes on.
Today we are in the host town of the 2008 World Championships, Varese. The air is very heavy and humid and last nights sleep wasn’t quite as comfortable as I’d hoped, though that just seems like part of grand tour life some days are good and some not so.
One bonus is we are back at sea level, after spending three nights sleeping at over 1200m altitude in the Dolomites its nice not to loose your breathe as you just walk down the stairs for breakfast.
After Mondays craziness on the slopes of the Corones Ski field, Tuesdays rest day was welcomed with open arms. After a 400km bus transfer and a small ride I put my feet up to rest and let my muscles recover for the final five days of the tour. It is a strange feeling being so far into this monumental race seeing the finish in site, but knowing there are two epic stages still standing in the way. Friday and Saturday bring two of the hardest days of the whole tour, so for me today I will be hiding in the bunch as much as possible and saving every bit of vital energy I have to get through the final two mountain days. Then just the final time trial in Milan to finish proceedings and hopefully my first Grand Tour.
Time to pull the chammy on once again.
A quick update on behalf of Tim, as he takes his valuable rest between stage 17 and tomorrows 147km jaunt from Mendrisio(Switzerland) to Varese (see stage 17+18 course profiles below)
Both stages are rolling and relatively short in comparison with some of the previous stages, clocking in at 146 and 147km respectively, with nothing to scary in the way of climbs, set up for breakaways and a last chance for the sprinters to show there stuff before the Giro hits the Italian alps later in the week, site of many famous battles in the past.
Today’s stage ended with a mass sprint, after a 3 man breakaway lasted most of the day. Tomorrow’s looks likely to head in the same direction unless a breakaway group can fend on the fast charging peleton at the end of the day.
Despite being obviously very tired after covering just over 2800km so far in this Giro, Tim is in high spirits, still focusing on taking things one day at a time…. attached are a few more shots from today’s stage + a few more from monday’s mountain time trial and stage 15 in the Dolomites, check out the dude on the motorbike, even he struggled with the crazy gradient!!
thanks for keeping posted (KG for TG)
With stage profiles that look more like an 8 on the Richter scale (see stage 14,15,16 profiles below) the GIRO is really getting down to the business end of proceedings. These epic climbs in the Dolomites burn the legs like crazy, testing the extreme upper limits of riders, there’s no place to hide on days like these!!
The attached images below are from the last few days racing, incl. scenery from the Dolomites (pic 1&2) in Pic 3 Tim races two spots in front of World champ Paolo Bettini as the peleton is strung out on stage 13, a flat stage before the mountains began + a few others as a visual snapshot from stages 11-15, what a place to race!!
They (the riders and commentators) say this years edition of the Giro is right up there with the hardest courses ever!! with two of the three weeks over now, the field is down to 146 from the original 197 starters, testament to this war of attrition.
Tim got an early start on today’s stage 16, in the 1st of 3 groups of 50 riders. Each was followed up the brutal 12.85km mountain time trial course to Plan de Corones just by a motorbike (spare bike draped over the shoulder of the passenger) on a the semi paved ski field road not even wide enough in parts for a car to pass.
Making timecut (normally 20% in addition to the winners time, graciously increased to 25% by the tour organisers today) was the main objective for Tim today. A stage, much like the two previous days, that benefited the characteristics of the weedy little climbers in the peleton, like the 55kg midget Emanuele Sella who took both of those. It was a close call, but he did it!!…. with a huge effort, so much so, that after his ski lift ride back to the bottom of the col, and transit to the team’s hotel, he couldn’t even get to sleep because his legs hurt so much!! its as he said, “just wrong”
Tomorrow is the second well deserved rest day of the Giro, Tim will endeavour to get near a computer tomorrow for another update from inside this great race…… so until then
Caio (brother Kyle online)
Well you couldn’t really get to more different stages to write about. Stage 11, on from the gun, pouring rain, never flat, hills more like walls, roads no bigger than footpaths, cold, and relentless pace all day. Stage 12, PIANO, thats rite real easy start, flat fast roads, a little rain cleaning to 26degrees, and then a little sprint amongst the fast boys.
Tonight I am writing from a small city called Modena, near Bologna. Where we will be leaving from again tomorrow morning for another flat sprint stage, before the race gets really serious in the mountains on Saturday.
The legs are starting to feel very heavy, especially after yesterdays tough stage. I was really motivated to get through yesterday in good shape, and things were going well when I slipped into a break of about 10guys after 20km, but it was not to be as a couple of km’s later I found myself riding straight over the top of a rider from Lampre as he lost control on a slippery corner, and from then on in it felt like I spent the whole day chasing. Even after finally catching the grupetto after riding with a group of 10guys out the back they never sat up as they thought time cut would be tight even though it wasn’t. So a little bumped and bruised I went to bed last night feeling completely drained.
Though today was quite a treat as we rolled out of the start village an only one mad Spanish rider decided he wanted to spend the day alone out in front as the rest of us stopped at a small bakery to enjoy some of the regions specialties before rolling off down the road again. Though some guys hadn’t had enough and brought the trays of cakes with them, good on ya fellas keep the peloton feed well.
The sprint finish was pretty chaotic with small rights and more corners in the last 3kms than you’ll ever find in any other race. I managed to follow in in 21st place for the day which was really about all my legs were good for after yesterday.
Ok time to see the Doc and get some new patches put on the wounds, then its off to bed for some recovery time.
Well I’ve finally made it back online here it Italy, it has been a real struggle to find any sort of connection as we have been touring up from the south of the country, but here in the little coastal city of Pesaro things seem a lot more civilized.
The first 9 days of continuous racing were pretty relentless but after yesterdays recovery day things have settled down a bit. It has been a real journey so far and by that I mean, by bike, bus, boat and also the journey of each individual stage as we have made our way from the south of
After a 400km transfer across the country on Sunday night, yesterdays rest day was spent fairly relaxed as you can imagine. After a quiet ride over the TT course it was back for lunch, a wee siesta and then massage. Though in the afternoon the rain started to fall and didn’t back off until this morning, but it didn’t go away so the TT course was made quite tricky with slick roads.
Today my objective was to just ride steady with out going into the red zone at all but at the same time stay well clear of the time limit. It was easier said than done though as we did over 700m of climbing in just 39km. The organisers do like making things difficult here though, with a nice little 14%, 400m climb on wet cobbles to the finish it was in true Giro style.
Well even though times we have been racing damm hard so far there is always time for a laugh in the bunch now and again, and on stage 9 Bradley Wiggins gave us all a good chuckle. As we had just past the 50km mark which signals the start of feeding for the day, each team will send a rider or two back to the team car for bottles. As one of the Cofidis (former team of Wiggins) riders proceeded to do his job and bring a bottle back for team mate Yann Huget, who was sitting on the right hand side of the bunch at the time as his team mate came up on the left, Bradley offered to pass the bottle across to him. Though as he took the bottle he threw it directly over Yann’s head into a field, and for just one moment the look on Yann’s face was hilarious. As all us riders following behind had a great chuckle which lifted the thought of the 175km we still had to go for the time being. Yann did get another bottle however so he didn’t go thirsty.
Well it’s about time to graze again and fuel up for tomorrows very tough looking stage as we make our way from Urbania to Cesena over some very steep climbs on small roads.
I would like to say a quick thanks to Glen an his crew from NZ, who have been out on the course waving the NZ flag proudly, it has been great inspiration for me while I battle my way through the tour. With a lot of riders mentioning to me also how it is so cool to get support like that so far from home. Plus to all of you who have left comments as well thanks very much I really enjoy reading them.
Here are some pics below from the past week: Room mate Jussi feet up skins on relaxing (this is how you spend your evenings on tour), the tour bible everything you need to know even if you don’t want to!, Jussi getting some extra recovery for his legs in the bus on a long transfer, traveling in bus (done a lot of it so far), me heading to the bus before stage 8 after staying at a ski station in the mountains, me swamped my a group of Italian kids after dinner one night, and the mechanics working hard in the rain.
Thanks for reading, keep a look out for more soon.
Here’s a small visual diary from the last few days at the GIRO, giving you all a sense of the varied scenery and atmosphere of this fantastic race. Tim is well tucked up in bed now after yet another marathon day in the saddle. Was a tough end to the day as he had to pull Jussi back to the bunch after a puncture, only to get one himself, costing alot of extra energy… that’s just part of the game!! Rest and recovery fills the agenda for tomorrow, on the race’s first, and very well deserved rest day.
Tim would like to thank all those who have written over the last week in support, and to let you all know that he endeavours to get online very soon for a full update and inside news from the Giro’s first week.
So until then, thanks again for checking out the blog.
Kyle aka Tim’s fill-in writer