By Susan Westemeyer
Gerolsteiner's Tim Klinger knew that the Giro d'Italia wouldn't be easy, but he didn't know that he would discover his archenemy there: the Italian road barriers. He had a run-in with one during the team time trial Saturday, but was able to stay upright. He wasn't so lucky on Sunday.
He was about 20th in the leading group with about 1.5 km to go. The 22-year-old felt good and was ready to go for his chance. The fast-moving peloton went around a left-hand curve, only to discover barriers on the right-hand side. Riders in front of him rode right into the barriers, and Klinger had no choice but to follow them, he wrote at radsport-aktiv.de.
"When I finally got back on my feet, I saw that my elbow was bleeding pretty heavily and hurt. A bottle of water poured over my arm cleaned it. Then I sat on my bike and rolled the last few meters to the finish. After a short visit to the team bus, I went directly to an ambulance, where my wounds were properly cleansed and then stitched at two places. I had a real hole in my elbow, plus a deep cut," he said.
He also has bruises on his chest, hip and thigh, plus a swollen knee. Klinger expects to start on Monday and is looking forward to the first rest day on Tuesday.
"It was not our day," said Gerolsteiner directeur sportif Christian Henn. The team lost domestique Volker Ordowski, who had been suffering from intestinal problems since Thursday night. "He was kaput. The stomach problems made it so difficult for him, that he couldn't ride any further." Ordowski was last in Saturday's team time trial, just barely avoiding the cut-off time limit.
T-Mobile was also hit by the intestinal troubles. Michael Barry, who joined the Giro squad at the last minute as a replacement for Serguei Gonchar, came down with fever and chills overnight and didn't start on Sunday. "It looks like an intestinal virus that he brought form home. His wife came had the same symptoms five days ago," team doctor Stefan Vogt said on the team's website, t-mobile-team.com. "A start today would have been too great a risk to his health."