When there are 100 riders lined up on the start line 40minutes before the start in 30 degree heat you know your in for quite a solid day on the bicycle! Today's stage on the map looked like a set of crocodile teeth so it was fitting that the crocodile man himself, Adam Hanson scored a very popular victory at days end.
And sure enough from get go it was on like donkey kong, one of those starts where you don't even think about moving from whatever wheel you find yourself on and are simply waiting in very anxious anticipation for the guys up the front dishing out all the pain to slow down. Attack followed attack, through in a few tired riders struggling to stay on the wheels and to concentrate and consequently crashing, a 15km gradual uphill just steep enough to know your climbing but not steep enough to keep the speed under 40kmph, and it was an absolute suffer fest. One other thing that you realise very early on one of these days is that whoever does make the breakaway is one seriously tuff turkey as until goes all bar the select GC superstars are literally chocca block with lactate and can't wait for a breakaway to finally get clear. I managed to slide into one good little group and we quickly started to skip away. Unfortunately the of gianni visconti who holds the mountains jersey did not want me up the rd threatening his jersey and they reeled us back in. I was not going to waste anymore energy attacking or ruining potential breakaways with the movistar team watching me like a hawk so I resigned myself to a day off in the peleton and hopfully with burning a few less calories might be able to kick this bronchitis once and for all. I am just about right, this morning I felt a huge amount better so the combination of sun and regular tempo yesterday must have worked wonders! It still lingers a bit and I was quickly reminded of this with the accelerations within the peleton so I knew that today was a day to be smart and get myself as right as possible ASAP.
So the break finally formed and within this group of hardmen fittingly was the hardest man in the peleton Adam Hanson. Once he had 7min I knew they would never see him again. Not only just he have the horsepower of moto gp bike but he is also incredibly smart. When it comes to riding back breaks and understanding what's required to do so there is no one in the peleton more knowledgeable at this than Adam Hanson. He would have had it planned out to the km so it was so awesome to see a man who uses this incredible knowledge to assist his team mates at every race to finally get the chance to use it on himself. As I said before that is a victory that is very popular and I am extremely happy for him. It might also be worth noting that adam once told me "when you are off the front you only have to ride as hard as the man on the front and to not get caught just ride harder than the man on the front" I have thought about this a few times the past days when I have been off the front. It does not matter if there are 10 people taking turns to ride you back the theory does not chance, very simple, just ride harder than the guy on the front. That pretty much sums up adam, no nonsense just common sense and get the job done! He is an absolute legend!
So resigned to my quiet day my role for the day was very simple. Go as easily as possible and when elia drops to save his legs for the upcoming sprint stages I do the same and look after him and also save my legs and my health! So we set up camp on the front as as I said before todays stage resembled crocodile teeth and one of those days where you are going uphill a lot more than you ever seem to be going downhill! Through into the mix that you rarely where not turning left or right and it did not take albert einstein to figure out that the safest and best way to save your energy was to be at the front. So in light of our GC captain Damiano Caruso looking to perform well on a stage perfectly suited to his characteristics we did all we could to keep a nice safe spot in the front of the peleton for him. Once the break formed after 35km we did this extremely well for the next 90km before the rain and sharp steep climbs began to liven up the bunch!
With around 45km to go the race really lit up and at this point I gave up my fight for the front positions. Damiano was safe, he had water and food and I had not interest in risking life and limb in these dodgy conditions and prolonging my sickness and began my daily drift back through the field to find Elia. Once I spotted him I sat calmly behind him and once he put up the white flag and surrendered at around 30km to go so did I and we found a nice large group of riders whom obviously had a similar objective to us. So all in all my objectives for the day were met! One way or another. In the end Damiano galloped to a fine 5th place from the group of favourites who hit the line just over a minute behind the hero of the day, the nice guy, the crocodile man himself, Adam Hanson.
So its was a nice day off of sorts, a bit of suffering at the start but nice to then get some good recovery in for the following 4hrs. The day unfortunately does not end with the race as now we are in the midst of a 240km transfer to tonights hotel. Its not all bad, we are travelling in utter luxury on our Cannondale Pro Team bus, have had a belly full of fresh pasta, and I am stretched out on a nice long lounge that perfectly fits my 184cm from onto it. For comfort I have my Australian flag travel pillow, I brought the aussie flag one to save me having to name it! Normally spending hrs on the autostrada would be a drag but in reality I may aswell be laying on my bed in the hotel such are all the creature comforts us cyclists are treated too. Nice hot showers following the race, fridges and cupboards stock full of the food and drinks you need, and most importantly great company. Team mates, directors, the press man, and most important our bus driver liucu who ensures he gets us safely from point a to point b as comfortably as possible. As much as I enjoy every second I spend on the bike, in varying degrees of enjoyment off course! I really enjoy my time on the team bus. Put it this way if you don't you are in for a very long giro as if you like it or not the time spent on the bus for the 3 weeks is not too far behind the time spent racing! Just one of the little realities of doing a race that circumnavigates Italy in only 21 days on a bicycle!
Todays race data
176km Time 4hrs 40min
Average power 238
Average heart rate 132
TT tomorrow so will do whatever I can do there! Will be the longest TT I have ever done so am excited to find out what's it like.
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