The American briefly set the fastest time over the 10.8 kilometre course - a surprise given that he had not targeted the stage. Having lost his team leader, Mikel Landa, through illness in the second week of the race, Boswell’s prime objective shifted from team support to seeking opportunities.
“The end is in sight now,” he told Cyclingnews after a turbo session on Monday’s rest-day.
“With the time trial, I wasn’t really targeting it. It was a relaxed approach so even in the warm up I was talking with my teammate Phil Deignan on the rollers. It was a casual warm up and then I just got out there on the road. I didn’t really know the course, although it wasn’t like I had to brake or anything.”
The slopes on the Alpe di Siusi gave Boswell the opportunity to test himself, without the distractions a bunch race can provide. There was just one climb and no fights for position, leaving him with the narrow, but important, focus of posting the best possible time.
It wasn’t all plain sailing, however. “Then I had Dario Cioni and Dave Brailsford behind me and they had a megaphone. It wasn’t working but they thought it was, so they were telling me I had fast splits but I had no idea what they were saying. So I just started out riding at a decent pace, and when I reached the climb I decided to push on.”
With Landa at home recuperating Team Sky are on the look out for riders willing and able to animate stages. They have already tasted success courtesy of Mikel Nieve but Boswell’s time trial has put him in the team management’s gaze ahead of the final week.
“After the TT, Dario said ‘you’re in trouble’. I asked why and he asked ‘why did you go so well today but haven’t done much else in the race?’ It’s unique event the uphill time trial, which is very different to a race with multiple climbs. At the Giro, the style of racing is very different to something like the Tour de France but the coming stages maybe suit me a bit better with the long climbs that aren’t as steep. The climb that we had the other day, the Passo Giau, that was just miserable for me.
“Going forward, there are some good stages for me but it’s not for a lack of trying that I’ve not been in a break. I’ve been trying it’s just that maybe I’ve tried too hard at the wrong time, or followed the wrong moves. Some people think that it's easy to jump in, but in the last two road stages the break didn’t go until late in the race and until that point I followed multiple attacks.”
The Tour de France
With the Giro d’Italia his primary focus, Boswell has not had a chance to consider his complete schedule for the rest of the season. He is set to line up at the Tour of Slovenia after a mini post-Giro holiday but, from July until the end of the year, there are several options.
He could return to the Vuelta a Espana, the scene if his first Grand Tour in 2015, or he could focus on smaller races in a bid to race with a larger degree of freedom. In all likelihood the Tour de France will not be on his programme, although Team Sky do currently have a number of riders on the sidelines at present.
“Everyone has thought about the Tour and it’s a dream for me to do it at some point in my career. I don’t think that this year would be possible. A lot of the Tour guys are up in Tenerife training and we have such a strong team. Landa said he was going to aim for it now, too,” he said.
“The team and I agreed that we should see how I go with the Giro as my second Grand Tour. We’ll see how I come through this third week and then if all goes well I’ll try and pencil in the Tour team for 2017 and trying to make the team. You never know, I mean I could have a good third week, and then if there are injuries and illnesses then I could get a call up but at this point it’s not on my list.”