Giro d'Italia shorts: A long day in the saddle, the vampires come early

A long day in the saddle

With a land slide causing race organiser RCS Sport to add an extra 10km to today's Giro d'Italia stage to Montecassino, the riders face a long, long day in the saddle.

As many of them pointed out via Twitter, the riders will cover 5.9km in a pre-stage neutralized section, race for 257km and then face a 9km descent to the team buses. That's a total of 271.9km.

The vampires bite early

Thomas De Gendt vented his frustration about an early wake up call, revealing via Twitter that he had been woken up at 6:50 for a UCI blood control.

"Let's make a long day even longer. Early out of bed for a bloodcontrole before the longest stage. Why today UCI? We need our rest," he posted.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie

Michael Matthews and his Orica-GreenEdge team has proudly flown the flag for Australia at the Giro d'Italia. Yet Australian success at the Giro d'Italia is a relatively recent affair. It all began exactly 32 years ago today when Michael Wilson became the first ever Australian stage winner.

The then 22-year-old from Tasmania won stage two of the 1982 from Viareggio to Cortona, beating Laurent Fignon.

During a nine-year career, that included a year at 7-Eleven in 1987, Wilson won five other races, including a stage at the Vuelta a Espana. He finished eighth overall in the 1985 Giro d'Italia.

Italia celebrates Ulissi

Thurday's Gazzetta dello Sport celebrated Diego Ulissi's victory in Viggiano by dedicating two pages to his success and describing him as the most talented young Italian rider of his generation who had finally bloomed.

Sadly Ulissi also represents the problems of Italian cycling and the lack of recent success by Italian riders.

The Tuscan rider and former double Junior world road race champion has now won 16 races yet only four of them have been in WorldTour races. Italian riders have only won four WorldTour races so far this season and Ulissi has taken two of them: a stage at the Tour Down Under and stage five at the Giro d'Italia.

New Italian national coach Davide Cassani made it clear he will be counting on Ulissi in years to come, going as far as suggesting he could be the next Moreno Argentin, who won the world title in Colorado Springs in 1986.

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