An unforgettable start in Denmark

Ciao a tutti. I’m back in Italy but I can’t forget this trip to Denmark for my first start at the Giro d’Italia. When I was on the start ramp for the opening time trial in Herning, I thought: “well… I’ve seen this race on TV for many years, now here I am!” But once in action, it’s just another bike race, except that this one is so much more important than the others. I got a decent time at the end of the 8.7km course. I’ve came in 1:01 down on Taylor Phinney but that was of no importance seeing as I’m not here to play my own card on GC. It was a great ride even though it was windy. I was amazed by the number of spectators on the roadsides, and it was the same for the second and third stages. I really didn’t know that cycling was so popular in Scandinavia.

I’m a beginner but I realized that everyone was scared at the start of stage 2 because a strong wind was expected. After 60km of racing, we had the sea on the right and on the left hand sides of the road! The conditions were there for echelons but fortunately for the teams who ride for the GC, as we are doing with [Domenico] Pozzovivo, there was no wind in the end, so there was no possibility of action for those who wanted to do some damage. It was dead flat as well. Our sprinter Sacha Modolo didn’t manage to be part of the first sprint and he crashed in the second one. I’m not part of his lead out, so I gave a hand to Pozzovivo to try and keep him out of danger in the finale of those flat stages. I could feel some fear in the peloton but it’s been quiet because of the absence of the wind.

The real fright came with the crash in Horsens. I’ve seen it from behind because I was in the first fifty positions of the bunch, but only when I saw the images on TV did I understand what happened with Roberto Ferrari. I’m not judging but it was a big crash. Fortunately, no one was hurt too much.

It was a special day, too, because on the start line we had two or three minutes of silence to pay tribute to Wouter Weylandt. I wasn’t at the race one year ago, obviously. I was at home and I remember watching the tragedy on TV. Anyone racing on a bike knows that risks are part of the job. Even wearing a helmet, we’re exposed to accidents but we always hope that everything will go well.

After stage 3, we all went to the swimming pool in Horsens, which is where the organization had organized showers for us before heading by bus to Billund’s airport. Our transfer back to Italy went according to plan. At 10pm, we were at the dinner table in our hotel near Verona, ready to recce the course of the team time trial in which we’ll try to limit our losses.

This trip to Denmark has been a positive one in my mind. I can’t compare as everything is new for me, but it’s been great. Logistically speaking, everything was easy and comfortable in Denmark. Our journey becomes more complicated in Italy, but it’s also where I want to show myself as a rider. When time gaps will be bigger on GC, there’ll be more possibilities for attacks to succeed. [Italian national champion Giovanni] Visconti has pointed out the stages that are good for him, starting this Friday. I probably like the same stages but first I have to evaluate my physical capacities. I can already feel in my body the efforts of three days of racing. My condition will determine what I can really do in my first Giro d’Italia.

Bye for now, enjoy the show.


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