Pozzovivo looked strong in the first two weeks of the race, sparking talk that he could be a real contender for the podium – if not the overall victory. On Saturday’s stage 14, he dropped several of his big rivals and moved to within touching distance of the podium. However, the following day he would fall to sixth, after being dropped.
The Italian rider revealed after the stage that he had been suffering with the respiratory illness, which prevented him from following the attacks. “It was a bad day,” he said at the finish. “For a few days, I’ve had bronchitis. On the climbs, I couldn’t breath well and I was coughing.”
Unlike a lot of his fellow riders, Pozzovivo did chose head out onto the snowy roads for some training on the rest day. He did take it easy though. “I did two hours of relaxed training towards Lago de Iseo, afterwards I tried not to waste any energy and calm the coughing fits that plagued me since Sunday on Montecampione,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
Pozzovivo’s first big test will be the 139-kilometre stage 16, which features two of the highest ascents of the race, the Passo di Gavia and - the Cima Coppi – the Passo dello Stelvio. In an ideal world, this would be a great stage for the diminutive Italian. The steep gradients would allow him to race away from riders such Cadel Evans (BMC).
The two slopes have endured a lot of snow over the last few days, but race organisers RCS confirmed that the stage would go ahead as planned. It is good news for the fans and the pure climbers, like Pozzovivo, but the Italian just hopes that the temperatures will rise a little.
“My only wish is that it is not too cold, because with the cold my performance will not be better, it is not good for my health. I hope that it will be a good stage for me. On Saturday, I won time and on Sunday I lost, so I drew even. And if I can, I will attack.”
You can follow stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia live on Cyclingnews from 11:00 BST.
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