So it’s over, but it’s not as simple as just going home, switching off forgetting about it. You have to collect your thoughts, and your notes, and then debrief. You need to figure out what worked and what didn’t, and what ideas you can introduce that might improve performance down the line. You also need to examine your own performance, because only by doing that do you improve.
After four weeks on the road you realise just how exhausted you are, but there’s always a long list of stuff that needs doing. You’ve been on the move every day for a month and now your back to your home, your wife, your own bed. I wouldn’t say it’s an easy adjustment to make though. The first couple of days are always a bit strange, but at the end of the day that’s the cycling life…
Moment in time
To conclude our gallop through Giro history, we’re winding it all the way back. The 1909 race, the one that started it all, was just eight stages. It was actually a tour of northern and central Italy, because the south (Naples aside) had neither the roads nor the demographics. There was no point trying to flog newspapers to people who couldn’t read them and the south was overwhelmingly illiterate.
They rode alternate days back then, because the Gazzetta itself only came out every other day, and the stages lasted an eternity – the first, from Milan to Bologna, was 397km. The thinking behind such epic distances was twofold. First, it meant they reached more towns and cities, and second, the mind-boggling distances captured the public imagination. They consequently bought more papers and so it rolled on.
Those who finished the final leg into Milan became instant celebrities. However, they were in the habit of issuing protests against one another and this was a case in point. Runnerup Carlo Galletti tried to have overall winner Luigi Ganna thrown off for various infractions and the jury was duty-bound to investigate. It therefore took two days for the final results to be ratified, but Galletti was barking up the wrong tree. Ganna had won fair and square, at least insofar as such a thing was possible. Which it probably wasn’t, but there we go.