Pastry chefs, fatigue and heading into the mountains

Enrico Battaglin gets ready for another stage of the Giro d'Italia

Enrico Battaglin gets ready for another stage of the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)

After a full week of racing, I get to feel the difference between a normal bike race and the Giro d'Italia. Tiredness is there but I'm getting accustomed to it. The welcome of the people is heart warming. Everywhere, we feel special as riders of the Giro. It's another world. During stage 5 to Fano, I noticed a general slowdown in the bunch. I thought it might have been caused by a crash but it wasn't. A pastry chef had prepared some cakes for us. Many riders stopped for a tasting session. Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the road and I missed this extra feed zone! It was a nice touch by the tifosi though.

It looks like I've missed a few opportunities these past few days. In the team time trial, I contributed to the team work for 25 kilometres, then I got dropped but the most important thing for us was to limit the damage for our GC rider Domenico Pozzovivo compared to Liquigas and Lampre. We didn't lose much - 1:12. Indeed, nobody lost much. We all believed that the team time trial would have had more of an impact on the overall classification. After one week, the hierarchy is yet to be discovered.

We had a very hard stage 6, with 3600 metres of difference in altitude. It's a pity that I missed the break that day because I was supposed to be up there. I made a mistake. Many teams were represented at the front. We never came across and Adriano Malori took the pink jersey. I didn't know the previous race leader, Ramunas Navardauskas, but I'm familiar with Malori. He's was born in 1988, so he's only one year older than me and I've raced against him many times in the amateur ranks. He's a strong rider and he was smart to catch the right breakaway.

In stage 7, I finished disappointed again. Four riders went away and Lampre-ISD rode behind. I didn't know the final climb to Rocca di Cambio, but I felt that I had good legs. However, with 2km to go, it was a totally opposite feeling. I suddenly suffered a lot. It's a shame because when I saw the uphill finale, I realized that it was a good one for me. I could have tried something. Now I have to try again. These days, I realize the difference between the amateur and pro ranks. At the Giro, I can't read the cards as much as I was used to. But in reality, no one has exposed himself and no one has lost the Giro yet.

We're in the regional park Sirente Velino in the Abruzzo. It's Saturday night and I keep chatting after the dinner with my teammates from Colnago-CSF. We like to hang around together. We're all Italians, we all have more or less the same age, we're young and enthusiastic about riding the Giro. We do our best to show ourselves during the race. We haven't won a stage yet but we've ridden decently so far in the finales. We'll try again!

Ciao, good night,

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Enrico Battaglin, 22, is a neo-pro with the Colnago-CSF team. Excited to line up for his first-ever Giro d'Italia and the longest race of his career thus far, Battaglin will test himself over the next three weeks. He'll share his experiences of the 2012 Giro d'Italia with Cyclingnews readers in this blog.