It might be raining when it should be sunny, there’s been a whole bunch of crashes, and getting to wear a pink jersey might not be much of an incentive but there’s obviously no prozac abuse amongst the top riders.
At least you’d think yesterdays stage winner Ivan Quaranta might be jubilant, “I did not start the Giro in good condition. I had health problems. I suffered at the back and I had bronchitis at the end of April in the Giro del Trentino. I knew that I would need several days to find my level. I am still not at my best but I’m not finished as a cyclist.” he continued “The cyclamen jersey [points]? It will be hard to finish in Milan. But the desire is there.”
Mario Cipollini isn’t happy with his Saeco team either; “The red train is sick. It did not function well, for technical reasons as well as physical. Nobody, including me, is well. I did not feel good at the beginning, but I improved after a few hours.” As for the end of the stage, “We had planned that I enter the finishing straight in 4th position, instead I was in seventh or eighth. And then Conte was alone, and he was not the strongest.” “Quaranta anticipated the sprint. He was quicker than me, nothing more.”
It ain’t much better reading interviews with the current leader Dario Frigo; “Since the beginning of the Giro, I have been quite tired – both physically and mentally. But I don’t think I am more tired than the others.” “If it (the leaders position) would only last to Milan, that would be a dream.”
Meanwhile early leader Rik Verbrugghe isn’t feeling too sprightly;
“I passed the X-rays. I don’t have a fracture but an injured shoulder due to my fall. On the bike, I am still having trouble breathing.”
But king of despondency has to be Pantani, who failed to live up to his usual trumpet blowing, by dissappearing off the back of the leading bunch on the last climb of the day, something he’s obviousl non too pleased about; “In light of the facts, I am more preoccupied at the moment than I was on the eve of this stage from Montesilvano. The fact that preoccupies me the most is not that I lost 30 seconds to the leader, but that I wasn’t able to hold the wheels of my rivals.”
“In front of me there were 20 riders, and this shouldn’t have happened. It raises many questions, but at the moment I don’t know how to give many answers.”
He continued; “It’s clear that I don’t have my rhythm, and it’s clear that I saw the riders go up at an extraordinary speed, a task that can be dealt with…” “When my adversaries accelerated, I couldn’t succeed in holding any of their wheels. I don’t know what to say, every possible doubt has come to me. The problem is not that I have not raced a lot, and therefore I don’t have many kilometres in the legs, I believe that the answer is much simpler.”
“Either one is at the forefront of a generational change, or I can no longer be with the best. Sure I must ask these questions, I repeat, why have I truly seen such strange things?”
Anyone got his coat?
Full Giro coverage is avaialble on the excellent Australian CyclingNews site.