By Gregor Brown in Monte Pora
American Jason McCartney is nearing the end of his third Giro d'Italia, and is proud of his CSC team-mate's stage win in what has been a wet ride from Silica to Lombardia. The 34 year-old explained that the team's spirit was lifted by Jens Voigt's win in Varese, something that could give McCartney encouragement for Sunday's time trial in Milano.
"Voigt really pulled it off for us," confirmed to Cyclingnews in Legnano's Piazza I Maggio. "I had a chance on the sixth stage and I kind of messed it up, so it was great to see yesterday. Everyone is super-psyched. ... He is just happy. It is an incredible feeling for him."
Following McCartney's attempt in the Peschici's stage, he suffered as the race headed north to the Dolomites. The winner of stage 14 in the 2007 Vuelta a España finished 22nd in the Urbino time trial before starting the first set of claiming stages; he now faces the Passo del Mortirolo and Passo di Gavia before he can have go in Milan.
"I had a little sickness in the middle; now, I am back and feel a little bit better. We will see what happens. ... Then it will be game on. Maybe I can do something special in the final time trial depending on how I get through the mountains."
The evidence was there of a wet Giro d'Italia while talking to McCartney; his white and red CSC jersey was actually gray and dark red. "Yeah, it is nasty and it seems like every day it has been raining," he confirmed. "Your shoes are always wet; you always have paper in them. [The roads are] always up and down – it has been a hard one. ... The Giro is always hard, the climbs are always steeper. They always have these climbs that are not even on the profiles that are just ridiculous."
He added of the feared Passo del Mortirolo (12.8 kilometres, with an average gradient of 10.3 percent), "I have done the Mortirolo so I know how hard that is."