Gutenabend. I say good evening in German because I’m staying in a typical Tyrolean hotel in Kiens in the region of Trentino. Every name here is translated in two languages: Italian and German. Kiens is Chienes in Italian. That’s the beauty of doing the Tour of Italy: we go through the specifics of the different regions of our country. In my previous blog, I was writing from the Riviera on the Mediterranean, which is like another world compared to here in the mountains near the Austrian border.
We’ve had two hard stages since. I feel a bit disappointed because I’ve tried to go in the breakaways twice in a row and it didn’t work out. We haven’t had very favourable weather conditions, to say the least. From Savona on Saturday, we started on dry roads and finished under the rain in the Valle d’Aosta. On Sunday, we’ve experienced six hours of racing under the continuous pouring rain. I’ve done my part in helping my team-mates with delivering rain jackets and bottles, then I’ve finished the stages at my own rhythm in the mountains.
Our team captain Domenico Pozzovivo hasn’t been super with the rainy conditions. He’s scared in wet downhills. Cold and rain have affected his performances. He has lost two minutes because of a bit of a hungerflat but he managed to limit the losses and he’s still in contention. Matteo Rabottini has done something great for winning at Piani dei Resinelli. It was extremely hard to come up to a stage starting from so far out, as he broke away only eighteen kilometers after the start. In the evening, I’ve realized as I watched TV that he even crashed! He already tried his luck on the way to Rocca di Cambio in the first week of racing. I’ve learned through those years that a cyclist has to be persistent for winning one day. That’s what Rabottini has done. Hats off to him.
Today in La Gazzetta dello Sport, Pier Bergonzi wrote that the four invited teams (ours: Colnago CSF Inox, Rabottini’s Farnese Vini-Selle Italia, Androni Giocattoli and NetApp) ride the Giro d’Italia with more hunger and desire to do well than some of the richer Pro Teams who are automatically entered because of their World Tour status. For sure, every day, we want to animate the race. We’re keen to demonstrate that we deserve our wild-card. We see that riders like Fränk Schleck who pulled out don’t have the same motivation as we have but their racing calendar is richer than ours. For us, the Giro d’Italia is the most important race of the season, so we do our best.
One of our riders, Stefano Locatelli, has been forced to abandon as well. It’s always sad to see a team-mate leaving. We stayed at a nice hotel in Riva del Garda near the lake. It’s been a real relaxing day. I only rode on rollers, for 45 minutes, and I used the facilities like the sauna and the Turkish bath. It was raining all day, so I stayed inside. Today in the bunch, I was curious to know what the other teams had done during the rest day, but I understood from various chats that about everyone did rollers or even nothing. I could feel the legs a bit stiff today, but yet, I wanted to break away and I’ve tried, as I was named by our sport director Roberto Reverberi to try and go. I did. I took part in a 12-man breakaway in the first kilometers of racing. Unfortunately, Astana brought us back. I heard they justified it by the teams’ classification but then, they should have gone after every breakaway and they even lost the lead to Movistar. I have a true regret that my move didn’t work out. It looked like a successful one but when we got reined in, a counter-attack went and it was game over for me.
I want to try again. The Giro is not over. Roberto said that I’ve done twice the work he expected me to do. It’s nice to hear. Physically, I feel good but my heart says that I should do more because I haven’t delivered the kind of result I was hoping for. I also believe that there is more to be seen from Pozzovivo in the big mountains. We want something more to celebrate.
Bye for now, we’ll draw the conclusions of my first Giro d’Italia in Milan.