La paura. It means fear in Italian and I’m detecting a few riders expressing the feeling right now. Normally riders sound confident, at least in public, with statements like “I’m ready” or the Italian line about being “calm” or “serene”. Only with the Giro ways things are sounding different.
Frenchman Christophe Le Mevel said “ce Giro me fait peur” to Cyclismactu, meaning “this Giro scares me”, adding “it’s a monster route. Especially for those aiming for the overall who will have to be up there every day. You’ll have to dig deep. Obviously this scares me a bit because it’s going to be very long and extremely hard“.
Sylwester Scaredy Cat
Liguigas’s Polish rider Sylwester Szmyd says he’s ready for the Giro… but in true team helper fashion tells readers via his blog that he’s worried for his team leader. “You don’t want to think about it now, I’ve had enough of worrying about little Nibali on those gravel descents without barriers that are as steep as the Zoncolan“. Given Nibali is one of the best descenders in the bunch, if Szymd is worried about him then you don’t want to think about how the others will cope.
HTC-High Road’s Craig Lewis seemed excited about the prospect of the Giro but slowly his attitude has changed, as judged by Twitter and the comments from his team mates:
What are you worrying about?
Three examples that show riders are apprehensive about the race and there are more, including Alberto Contador. It’s true the course is very tough with some massive amount of climbing, not to mention descending.
Away from the obvious difficulties, there’s so much more to be worried about. The race often uses narrow roads and accidents are common when the bunch gets squeezed into a street originally designed to accommodate medieval traffic. Plus there are the long transfers, a rider’s job is not done once the finish line is crossed, as it’s all about recovery. Hours in the team car or bus before and after the race mean additional fatigue, not something to look forward to when every bit of rest counts over the three weeks. And that’s before the weather has its say.
Just in case anyone picks up the wrong end of the stick, I’m not trying to say riders are soft. On the contrary, it’s that this race looks be a unique test of endurance. It says something when professionals are expressing doubt. On paper at least this looks like the hardest grand tour I can remember. But we’ll see, the riders famously make the race, not the course.
If you’re lucky enough to watch the race in person be sure to shout for every rider. If you’re following over the internet be sure to look up the lanterne rouge and think about sending them messages of support.