Phew, the Giro stages in Holland were something, it was like the classics season had suddenly got going. Cold weather, small roads, crashes: it was early April all over again.
I found it made for exciting riding but is this what a Grand Tour is all about? I’m in two minds, on the one hand it’s exciting but a Grand Tour is meant to be a more lengthy matter. Think of a culinary analogy, the Giro is a stew that slowly cooks for three weeks whereas racing on the tiny roads of Holland is more like a fast food snack. Personally I find the stew more satisfying and I worry about a trend to make the sport more exciting, pro racing shouldn’t become a TV circus.
That said, a typical stage of the Giro can include a visit through an ancient town, the road width suddenly goes from eight metres to three as the bunch is squeezed through the medieval entrance to the town, preferably over smooth cobbles or flagstone. No race is immune to crashes. Still, you can’t help but feel for Hushovd and Vande Velde.
All in all, there’s been plenty of excitement and the race hasn’t even hit Italy yet.