On your marks, jetset, go

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Szymdcopter

If you polled riders on the worst thing in the Giro d’Italia, chances are they’d ignore the mountains, roads that suddenly narrow and the offroad sections. It’s the long transfers before and after every stage that get annoying.

No matter how comfy the team bus – and some are not as great as you’d imagine – it’s the journey to the hotel after a hard day’s racing that gets to some riders. You just can’t relax properly until you get to your hotel, where food and a massage await. Apparently some teams aren’t getting to their hotel until 9pm or later.

Elicottero
Liquigas-Cannondale have gone one better than a swanky team bus: a chopper. In order to speed the key riders to the hotel after a stage, the Italian squad used a helicopter yesterday. Vincenzo Nibali and key helpers like Sylwester Szmyd are airlifted to their hotel, allowing for maximum recovery time ahead of today’s crucial stage with the double ascension of Etna.

The image above is from Szmyd’s camera phone, the Pole is used to riding shotgun to the likes of Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, this time he was sitting next to the pilot. Liquigas are a big budget team but this shows just how far they are going in order to help their riders recover.

GreaseMonster May 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm

This will certainly give Nibali a psychological boost, no expense is being spared in giving him and his lieutenants the best treatment and the best chance of recovery. It will also be in the minds of his competitors.

Flashing Pedals May 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Grease Monster : psychologically they may have a boost, but out on the road, its irrelevant. They would need a helicopter to stay in contention.

Larry T. May 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Based on the Etna stage, they need to helicopter in some more guys to help Nibali in the mountains as it seems a lot of the climbing help must be “on vacation” in sunny (oops, make that snowy) California. NOBODY likes the transfers, I can still remember years ago when LeTour was in the UK and the race caravan was stalled in traffic after the race was over. The poor riders were packed into the team cars, still in race kit and had already eaten whatever meager post-race food was on hand. We handed over a bag of Italian “Mulino Bianco” sugar cookies to the MG team and you’d have thought we’d given them a bag of gold! Nowadays it’s got to be better with the bus, showers, etc. but still nobody likes to race all day only to then drive for hours to the hotel. Sadly this is modern cycling as, especially with Italy, they want to get to the places willing to pony up the euros to host the starts and finishes and these days few seem to be able to afford both. We’re on our way to Italy this afternoon – how fortunate the rest day’s tomorrow so we won’t miss any racing – wish I could say we planned it this way but…..it was just FATE!

Crosschain May 16, 2011 at 12:31 am

Nibali could have used that chopper to catch contador on etna today, amiright?

Cue Statler and Waldorf please.

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