Italian Continental Pro team Tinkoff is experiencing some difficulties in Tirreno-Adriatico. The team's best rider on Sunday's time trial was Evgeni Petrov, placing a respectable fifth and a consecutive eighth on GC, but several riders of his teammates are suffering from flu-like symptoms, with two riders already out of the race.
"Unfortunately we lost some of our key men," said Dmitri Konychev, sports director of Tinkoff. "The last to call out of the race was Pavel Brutt, we decided not to risk the young rider’s health, as he was suffering from fever and cold symptoms. Apparently there’s a bug going around in the peloton, there are quite a number of ill people riding on. Ruggero Marzoli’s decision to stop was also taken for health reasons."
Meanwhile, Tyler Hamilton is also feeling ill, but decided to continue the race. "Although Hamilton has similar problems as Brutt, he insists on staying in the race, as he absolutely needs racing miles to open up in future tours," Konychev continued. "We still have three riders who can aim high in [today's] mountain stage: Vasyl Kiriyenka, Ricardo Serrano and, of course, Evgeni Petrov, who returned to Top 10 after an impressive time trial, an event he’s traditionally strong at."
But the team's woes do not 'only' include illnesses - bad luck a few days ago added up to the struggle. Nevertheless, the riders' spirits are not broken. "I can't help feeling amazed at the way how our brave Spaniards continue on after two heavy crashes," commented Konychev, who kept a positive outlook. "Rici found himself in hospital with suspected shoulder-blade fracture; he was utterly beat up, he still can't get out of the saddle and rides seated down - every rider knows what it means to pedal up short steep climbs like that. Yet Serrano says: 'I can't give up, the team believes in me.' I also think that we have good chances to go up a couple of positions in general standings with Petrov and contest the green climber’s jersey with Commesso."