Cyclingnews' John Trevorrow was at the start of the 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia in Alleghe where he assessed the riders' feelings about the stage, which starts with the very tough climb of San Pellegrino.
Nick Gates (Davitamon-Lotto)
"I'm not too good actually. I'm a bit chesty and just feel s***house. It's just a matter of staying with Robbie today - I've got him psyched to stay with Petacchi. It's such a steep climb that the gaps could be a bit big and people might go on with it. But I'm a bit worried about this chesty feeling.
"We looked at the severity of this climb and decided we need a 25 or 26 on [at the back]. But we also need 11 cogs at the finish, so we're aiming to do wheel changes at the top."
Henk Vogels (Davitamon-Lotto)
You looked a bit tired yesterday? "Yeah, I had to dig really deep, but I've had a really good night's sleep. I feel OK this morning. I've gotta get up that first berg, and try to stay there for so we can be there at the end.
"If they race full gas up the San Pellegrino, maybe there's no coming back, so if they try and ride regolati, we're in with a chance."
Matt White (Cofidis)
"I had a good night's sleep; we were in a nice little hotel up in the mountains, nice fresh air. It'll be a good one today."
For the climb, White said, "We've got the 25s on. It's 17 percent in places - some have said 20. It really could blow to pieces up here. Ideally we'd just like to ride up nice and easy, but that ain't gonna happen. It's supposed to be the last day for the sprinters, but I got a feeling it'll be a breakaway day today.
"Zabel is climbing the best of all the sprinters. If he's in a group clear of all the others, T-Mobile could get on the front and try to hold the gap. It'll probably be Robbie, Cookie and Stuey's last day too, so this is their last chance for a while."
Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis)
"They're always pretty nasty, but yeah, I got through it OK."
Have you considered doing a few more days in the mountains for your Tour preparation? "Nah, the bags are packed. I can feel a bit of a bug coming on. It's called the mountain bug."
Baden Cooke (Francaise des Jeux)
Cooke has been suffering from his crash in the first week, but he was able to get through stage 11 intact. "They worked on me and got me right. I give myself a bit of a chance today. Hopefully we'll get over this 'thing' this morning and we'll have a good crack at it."
Cooke said he went out of alignment after his personal physio went home, and it "just killed my breathing. The day Robbie won, I couldn't even sprint...I got someone to whack me into place the night after and yesterday I was fine. I'm up for it today."
Brad Wiggins (Credit Agricole)
How was your first day in the mountains? "They're hard, but I was comfortable in the gruppetto. I don't think that was the case with everyone - a lot of the Aussies were suffering. I didn't try to get into the next group up, because it doesn't make much difference if you finish 20 or 30 minutes down.
"I'm confident I can finish this Giro. I'd like to really do something in the latter part of the Giro."
Russell Van Hout (Colombia-Selle Italia)
"I got through it, and had a good night's sleep. I do feel a lot better today. There's only that one hill at the start. I just have to stay in the gruppetto, get to the finish, and get this day out of the way. It's going to be a big weekend, so I'm just going to hopefully get through that, then I can have some more breakaways and get out there next week."
Trent Wilson (Colombia-Selle Italia)
"Today, my plan is to have a few coffees in the village so I can get over that first one. Once we get over the first one, I reckon it'll come back together. I'm more worried about tomorrow. I've got a bit more confidence after yesterday. But you never know in these grand tours. One day you're feeling good, one day you can hardly feel your legs."
Shayne Bannan (Australian head coach)
How have you seen the Australian performance so far in the Giro? "It was pretty special, but besides Robbie's three stage wins and Brett's prologue win, the fact that there are twelve Aussies here shows the quality of Australian riders, plus many others who have yet to appear in grand tours this year like Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers, Allan Davis and so on. You turn on the TV and the commentators are talking about this being the Italians versus the Australians. That's pretty satisfying, isn't it?"
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