Robert Millar: A Giro d'Italia analysis in three parts
Few former riders have the insight, analytical skills and sense of perspective to understand the subtleties of Grand Tour stage racing.
Yet again Robert Millar, who was second overall behind Stephen Roche in the 1987 Giro d'Italia and won the climber's jersey, has captured the essence of the opening nine days of the Corsa Rosa in his latest blog for Cyclingnews.
Millar describes the Giro d'Italia as "pure theatre" with the story of the race told in three parts: The visit to Ireland, the return to Italy and a story of nine lives. Read Robert Millar's analysis here.
Pozzovivo: "Don't call me the Flea"
The Italian cycling media loves to come up with nicknames for the biggest names in the Giro d'Italia. They often represent a rider's style of racing, his origins or his physique.
In recent years Vincenzo Nibali was named the "Squalo dello Stretto di Messina" - the shark from the Strait of Messina, Paolo Bettini was "il Grillo" - the Cricket and Paolo Savoldelli was known as the "il Falco" - the Falcon, for his descending skills.
This year Domenico Pozzovivo has been baptised as "il lupo dei Jonio" - the wolf of the Ionian (sea) and the "Pulce di Policoro" the flea from Policoro, for the way he attacked on the climbs.
However, the pure climber from the south of Italy has made it clear he does not like the "flea" nickname. Pozzovivo revealed to Gazzetta dello Sport that he prefers a different nickname. Apparently he is very good at navigating and so instead of Tom-tom, he has become "Dom-dom".
Warming up nicely
After a first week of rain and cool conditions, the Giro d'Italia looks set warm up nicely in week two, with weather forecast predicting sun and blue skies, especially in the first part of the week.
The 182 riders left in the race can expect temperatures of between 25-28 degrees Celsius for Tuesday's flat stage to Salsomaggiore Terme near Parma and a warm breeze blowing of the Mediterranean for Wednesday's ride to Savona near Genoa.
Thursday's time trial through the Barolo vineyards should also be held in warm, sunny conditions. However the high pressure could cause some thunderstorms on Friday and especially at the weekend, as the Giro d'Italia heads back into the hills for the mountain finishes in Oropa, near Turin and Plan di Montecampione, north of Brescia.
A wake up call for Ulissi
Diego Ulissi failed to land his third stage victory in Sestola on Sunday, using the excuse that an early morning wake up call for an anti-doping control meant he only had four and half hours sleep and left him light headed during the stage.
"I had a bad night after my second win. We got to the hotel at 9:00 pm, got to bed at 1:30 am, got up to pee at 5:45 am and then was woken up for 6:15 am for an anti- doping control," he told the Corriere dello Sport newspaper.
"I must have slept about four and half hours and that's why I felt faint several times during the race. I don't understand. I'm the first to accept the controls, and I'm ready to make myself respect the rules, but whoever knows cycling understands that rest is fundamental for us riders."