Race leader Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) has described his experience of Thursday's stage of the Giro d'Italia as a mixture of boredom and stress, with Saturday's ascent of the Oropa looking increasingly appealing in comparison.
Possibly the most eventful moment of the day for Dumoulin and Team Sunweb came before the stage had started when they discovered that they had left Germany's Simon Geschke behind by accident at the team hotel.
"It's because we don't need him," Dumoulin joked at the finish. "We were already ten minutes down the road before we noticed he wasn't on the bus. It was kind of funny, he sent us a photo sticking his middle finger up and asking where we were."
The team turned around to pick him up and Geschke made it to the race, but his troubles didn't stop there.
"But he forgot to sign on too, so it was all round a bit of a tough day for him. Probably because he was working so hard on Wednesday, he's tired."
Dumoulin's own day on the Giro d'Italia's longest stage, was not that special, he told Dutch reporters, and he described the 229-kilometre trek across northern Italy as being "boring, then really stressful in the final." Nor was he overly impressed by the peloton's experience of riding on Italy's fabled A-1 motorway early on in the stage, arguing "it wasn't that special, just a very wide road."
Overall, he concluded, "I had a good day, no problems at all, it was a bit faster than expected, but it was a typical sprinters' day. I'm hoping for another quiet day tomorrow [Friday]."
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Dumoulin said that he was itching for the Giro d'Italia to reach the next climbing stage on Oropa, "because those sorts of finishes are better for me," and interestingly, he warned that he may not play a conservative game on the ascent. With an overall advantage in his favour, Dumoulin argued, it was up to the rest of the GC contenders to put him to the test.
"I don't have to attack, they have to come at me. If I have a bad day I'll limit the gaps. If I have a good day, I'll go for it." First, though, Dumoulin and the rest of the GC contenders have another sprinters' stage to get through.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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