Giro d'Italia 2003 - Epilogue

05 Jun 2003

Excellent climbing by Gilberto Simoni: VAM of 1865m/h on the Zoncolan and 1888 m/h on the Alpe de Pampeago are performances that could be compared to those of Roberto Heras during the 2002 Vuelta.

Not far behind come his principal rivals - Garzelli and Popovych. 

Light and powerful, with perfect bike posture both in climbs and time trials, Simoni could pose a serious challenge for Armstrong in the next Tour de France.

With more than 4500 meters total altitude variance, the “Monster Stage” of Chianal showed off “Gibo’s” endurance talents on a day made even more difficult by cold, rain and even hail.

The adverse weather conditions increased riders’ energy output by 30%, making alimentary intake during the race crucial.

Those who didn’t protect themselves adequately in the descents or who weren’t able to take in enough food found themselves suddenly out of energy and were badly distanced in the final kilometers.

Just ask the brave Popovych (attacking in the descent without protective gear to protect himself from the cold and the hail), who had control of the race at about 20 km from the finish and who was only 4th across the line, more than 3 minutes behind Frigo and Simoni. Same sad story for 40 riders who didn’t manage to finish in the maximum regulation time.

On extreme days like this, a racer has to increase caloric intake by at least 30%, emphasizing carbohydrates and fats, remembering that the latter provide, by equivalent weight, more than double the calories provided by sugars and proteins. Cookies with almond paste or nuts, donuts, tarts or chocolate should be added to the standard supplies.

Riders in these conditions burn between 800-1000 kcal per hour of race. It’s necessary to insure an intake of 400-600 per hour in order to avoid serious energy crises and a complete exhaustion of glycogen which would take at least 3 days to fully reconstitute.