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.
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.