Stage 11 kicked off with the first 70km slightly downhill. It also was a stage on paper that looked ideal for a breakaway so it does not take einstein to figure out how the first 90minutes of racing went before the escape was made 75km into the race! From the gun it was go go go, everyone thought maby just maby they could sneak away but the reality was with peleton often moving at 60+km/h to get away you had to sprint like Elia viviani to get even the slightest gap on the field. Still that harsh reality did not deter the opportunists and bang bang bang they shot of in pursuit of glory. I was given a day of so was happily sitting in the bunch observing these escape attempts and pittying the poor guys that would be reeled after busting there gut at 70kmph per hour to be very unceremoniously dumped toward the back of a charging peleton. I certainly felt there pain particularly after my failed attempts yesterday. The start was not unincidental for me however with a flat tyre around the 50km mark. Normally no drama when rolling along at a solid 40kmph but have one at 60+km/h and you are very quickly a long way behind! Infect as it takes around a 30-45seconds to do the whole change process at this speed it equates to almost 800m in real distance you need to make up. Sure we get the comfort of the cars but the actually move forward you need to go faster than the peleton so no matter how good a wind break you have in front of you pedalling at 70+km/h is absolutely full gas! Upon finally making contact with the rear of the field I realized we had done 50km so feed was open so stuck my hand up for bottles. At this point the lactate hit me from my chase back on so I knew getting the bottles to the front at this speed was going to be even harder than getting to the back of the field! So much for my easy relaxing day off in the peleton!
So I rolled through the bunch and handed out bottles to my tireless teammates whom at been trying so hard to enter the break and had just finally reached our final rider when and attack went on my right hand side which looked like a sneaky move and I jumped on it! Alas it would go down again as one of those almost made it attempts and after doing a 1000+ watt sprint to get clear I now also had the opportunity to experience the unceremonious dumping back through the field! Day off completely gone out the window! Finally not long after this the move went and our little columbian rock spider Sami was one of the crafty riders to sneak inside the 19rider move. The relief was not only for me that the break had gone as you could sense the gratitude of the entire peleton for the rest bite. Also with all the riders up the road no threat to gc the race would be won from the breakaway and the pace in the main field was nice and steady all day. Just what the doctor ordered in my case. Sure enough the status quo occurred until the final 7km drag up to the finish where some of the gc men decided to test if there were any sleepy bodies back in the field and move up some spots. Most of the field were uninterested in this and sat up at the bottom of the climb as soon as the pace went from an idle to first gear! Our GC Damiano was on such rider who showed hat diligence on every single days pays dividends as he moved inside the top 20 for the first time on gc after leading home the group of favorites so was an excellent performance by him and just reward for remaining alert all day up the front of the peleton. He is making a habit of riding perfect position and being there when it matters most and that is certain to pay dividends as the race ramps up over the final 10 days.
With a grand tour the daily routine can become monotonous. Also eating the same old food day in day out can also get a little long in the tooth so to speak. In the race I always use maltodextrine drink bottles which contain around 50gramm of easily digestible carbs. I like to use these bottles for 2 reasons. Firstly I find I can digest carbs better through liquid. Secondanly and perhaps the more practical reason is that when we are going bullet a gate be it like to day doing 70kmph for over an hr or up a climb full gas it's much easier grab a bottle and squirt it than fosic through your pocket for food, unwrap it, and try an consume it, let alone digest it. The sugar bottles are kind of like a security blanket for me in the form of a fuel source, I know that now matter how crazy the race situation while I have a bottle on my bike I can grab a quick drink and keep the tank as topped.
When it comes to eating food I have been super duperly enjoying the products from our food supplier multipower. We have these choc coated rise crispy nougat bars which are utterly delicious. I carry these and consume them when the racing is less than intense as there the hardest thing to unwrap and probably hardest food I carry to digest. After these I use the jelly packs. These are perhaps my all round favorite!! They are relatively easy to open and then you simply squeeze the orange flavored jelly down your gob which is in my opinion utterly delicious! I use these during times of moderate racing intensity where I want to eat something substantial but all know it will digest easily and quickly at the same time. And finally the gels which are the turbo fuel for the final part of the race. These are what I consume when we are going full tit as they are very easy to open, consume, and most importantly quickly give you the energy you need for the final part of the race. They also often contain caffine which has the ability to give you that little bit of extra sharpness when you need it most. So I am very content with what multipower have our bus stock up with for race fuel. During the giro one of our legendary massures Carmine Magliore has been whipping us up steamed rice with sugar and chocolate mixed through. Outside of our specific race fuel this is something I enjoy immensely. I love my rice and I love my chocolate so really for me its the perfect snack. The only catch is it falls into my eat when we are cruising category as it's a little harder to unwrap, eat and digest than our sport specific multipower products. So I have to prey that Carmine prepares the rice on days that we have plenty of easy moments in the race. As if we don't my pockets are still full with rice at the finish which does not worry me so much as it makes and excellent post race recovery snack!
Sprint tomorrow and in the home town of our green missile Elia viviani so I am looking forward to doing all I can to help make that all happen for him.
180km 4hrs 50min
Average power 230
Average heart rate 130
Maximum power 1050