The maglia nera (black jersey) that virtually designates the rider who is dead last on GC at the Giro d'Italia had a black day on the longest mountain stage in the Dolomites. Australia's Matt Wilson was a sick rider trying to make the time cut while his room-mate and compatriot Brett Lancaster was forced to pull out with 75 kilometres to go.
"They have both been affected by a virus but they didn't know anything about it when they started the stage," Garmin-Cervélo directeur sportif Lionel Marie told Cyclingnews in Pozza di Fassa. At the start in Conegliano, Wilson even thought his most difficult time at the Giro was behind him.
"But I've got some sort of stomach virus, according to our doctor," he explained in the evening. Lancaster has the same thing. We could barely eat or drink all day." The 2004 Olympic champion for team pursuit was reported to be vomiting on his bike and again once he had pulled out of the race.
"We didn't need that to happen on the most difficult stage I've ever done in my life," Wilson said after ten years of racing as a professional.
"Matt has been terribly unlucky during the Giro," Marie added. "He crashed during stage 8 and couldn't hold his handlebar with his injured hand. I've seen him crying on the bike. After that, he got ganglions [a cyst that appears on the hand], and once he's done with these problems, he gets the virus. But he's still there in the race. Fortunately, he has always been part of a group of about 25 riders during that crazy stage today. He remains in the Giro only because he's got unbelievable courage."