Giro 2005 - Epilogue
After the excellent TT in Torino, pink jersey leader Paolo Savoldelli saw in stage 19 the longest day, the decisive one for this 88th Giro d' Italia.
190 km stage, 4200m of total climbing elevation, with the terrible Colle delle Finestre: 1700m to climb over 18.5 km, the final 8 of which on gravel.
Paolo was not having a great day: already in the first ascent to Sestriere he didn't have good feelings.
The fatigue accumulated in 19 stages and the stifling heat (32°C) extracted a heavy toll.
"Il Falco" decided then to face the Finestre at his own pace, not responding to the accelerations of other riders.
Immediately he started losing ground: 15" after 3 km, 36" at 5th km, being then able to maintain the gap with 49" at the passage of the 8th km and decreasing it to 41" at km 10 of the climb.
At the end of the paved road (10.6 km for 975m of difference in height) the group of best riders including Simoni, Di Luca and Rujano, scored 34'00" of climbing time (VAM=1720 m/h).
Paolo was not far: 34'42" (VAM=1685 m/h).
The leading group expressed an average power output of 5.93 w/kg. Simoni and Di Luca, weighing both about 60 kg, were pushing about 355 watts; Rujano (50kg) was pushig 296 watts.
Paolo developed a power approximately 2% inferior, equal to 5.81 w/kg: with his 68 kg of body weight, he pedaled at an average of 395 watts.
In the following gravel distance, Di Luca, Simoni and Rujano expressed a lower VAM (1555 m/h), due to bigger ground friction and altitude.
Savoldelli gave in another 1'40" on the final non-paved 8 km, with a VAM of 1466 m/h.
The last 2 hours of racing of this stage were ridden at a very high itensity, without basically any recovery chances for the riders: even the rather short descent, made in less than 10', was taken all-out by the main riders.
The energy cost for the last 2 hours was close to 2200-3000 Kcal, depending on the rider's weight.
Crucial in such circumstances was to adeguately refuel the engine with carbohydrates and fluids.
And so did Savoldelli, taking 30g of maltodextrines and 1/2 liter of water every 15' of climbing: this, together with a wise distribution of the effort and an excellent tactical vision, allowed him to take the final victory of his second Giro d' Italia.