Hi all, from Civitavecchia, near Rome.
We’ve passed three days of medium mountains since my last blog. This is how the geography of Italy makes the Giro a hard race no matter what. Even without looking for the big climbs and even though the competitiveness of those stages is limited to the last hour of racing, it’s very demanding. We’ve done six hours daily on the bike. Our legs can feel the fatigue of a grand tour.
The main event of the U-turn in the south of Italy has been the stage victory of Domenico Pozzovivo at Lago Laceno. It wasn’t a surprise.
Before the Giro d’Italia, he won the Giro del Trentino. That day, he only confirmed what we’ve seen last month: he’s the Colombian from Italy! This is his great opportunity to win the Giro d’Italia. When he stands on his pedals in steep climbs, it’s impossible to follow him. Nobody moved behind him in the Mollela because nobody could do it. He’s been a protagonist of the Giro d’Italia before. He has often done well in the hills but he also struggled downhill in the past. I spoke with him about that at the Giro del Trentino.
In April this year, it was pretty much the first time we spoke. I know that he’s a professor in economics. We both have completed our studies during our time as professional riders. We’re both Italians but we don’t know each other really, possibly because he’s on a relatively small Italian team [Colnago-CSF] while I’ve been on a more international program these past few years with T-Mobile, HTC-Highroad and now BMC. Pozzovivo looks to me like a shy guy like me. He doesn’t look for the media even though he’s got interesting things to say, not only about cycling. I appreciate that he has expressed his opinions about Italian politics. I agree with him that the kind of government we have these days with economist Mario Monti at the helm rather than the usual politicians who serve themselves more than they serve the country is the best medicine for the economical crisis that we’re facing nowadays.
Back to the Giro, we’re in a transition between the nervous start and the mountainous third week. At Lago Laceno, I’ve lost a bit more than I’d have liked. But I’m still not far down on the top 20. I’ll have a clearer picture of the situation at Cervinia. That will be a hard stage, after which I’ll decide whether I ride for GC or for a stage win during the last week. The real hierarchy of this Giro d’Italia is yet to be seen.
In our BMC team, Taylor Phinney is getting better after a couple of hard days. Some of my teammates are keen to catch breakaways during this transitional week. We also have Johann Tschopp who goes very well in the big climbs. He might be able to repeat at the Stelvio his exploit from the Passo Tonale two years ago.
Stay tuned for the third week, it’s going to be intense! Let’s see what the Colombian from Italy can do again…