Giro 2013 - Part I
After nearly 1000 km under in the rain, the riders begin to pay the price.
Not only respiratory diseases but also muscle fatigue, tendinitis and digestive problems assaulted the more fragile athletes in the peloton.
Cyclists, in addition to food, ingest water and mud from the pavement, which often contains parasites: worm and protozoa infection are definitely not uncommon, draining the energies well beyond the physiological fatigue of a stage race.
And it is riders such as Wiggins and Hesjedal, along with Froome and Gesink, the prototypes of the latest generation of riders whose fragility I had already pointed out (see comment for the TdF of 07/24/12), that are the first to pay the price for such weather conditions, inevitably having to quit the Giro .
Physically very tall and perhaps too thin, they are more exposed to wind and cold compared to more compact and less taut athletes.
But if so much rain is unusual in Italy in the month of May, unforeseen external factors are always to take into account in road cycling, especially when dealing with a competition that lasts more than three weeks on an extremely diverse course, always full of pitfalls.
Even with only one real climb dealt with so far (Montasio), the contenders for the final victory already seem restricted to two, maybe three riders, with already significant gaps in the GC.
Nibali has confirmed the progress both in his climbing and time trialling (6.4 w/kg in the 10.9 km, 7.7% gradient climb of Montasio); Evans is trying to cling right behind, but his form should be further verified on the steepest gradients that await the athletes in the 3rd week.
Uran, brilliant uphill, already has a more than 2 min gap and his skills in withstanding the responsibility as captain of the team have yet to be tested.
Scarponi, who perhaps went in too deep in the time trial of Saltara, gave in some time on his more favorable uphill terrain. If he can regain freshness on the mountains ahead, he could become a serious aspirant to the podium of Brescia.