By Jean-François Quénet in Pinerolo
Rabobank's young Australian William Walker crossed the finishing line of Giro d'Italia stage 11 in Pinerolo with a smile on his face. He was happy to have avoided the crashes amid the slipping sprinters, but he was also happy to be coming of age only one year after turning professional with ProTour Rabobank team. Previously, he'd been a member of the team's continental squad.
Currently 25th on GC, Walker has the honour of being the highest ranked English-speaker of the Giro as well as the third in the best young rider classification.
"It's really nice to be there," he said. "But it's pretty unrealistic to believe that I'll be able to keep this position among the young [rider Maglia Bianca] category. I was happy with the way I climbed yesterday but the hill was only eight kilometres long. There are bigger mountains to come. I want to test myself again and it might tomorrow already, but I'll do it by going in breakaway."
It was his presence in the front group on stage 8 going to Fiorano Modenese that allowed him to move up on GC. "Today was the most boring cycling day in my career," he laughed after stage 11 in Pinerolo. "Look at the time we spent on the bike: four hours and 46 minutes! And my average heart rate was 100. It was better than another hard and fast day in between the climbs. It was good actually. Most of the guys were tired after yesterday's stage. Everybody aimed at a day off or so."
"The Giro is definitely not like the Tour de France," he concluded. "The interest must be smaller because we'd never see such a slow stage at the Tour de France."