Wet roads, short steep ascents, fast descents and enough road for everyone to come back together. Some took their chances and lost, others kept their powder dry for tomorrow. Not a day I'd be happy about but good on Bertolini for coming up trumps, and Visconti for hanging tough...
After 16 years as a professional, Alessandro Bertolini has won his first ever stage in the Giro d'Italia. The 36 year-old Italian, whose main job is to defend Serramenti PVC team leader Gilberto Simoni, was part of a five-man escape that dominated a wet and demanding stage to Cesena in Italy's Emilia Romagna region.
Must say I made a point of racing and training in the wet, but was even more careful than usual (if that be possible). Indeed as the years went by and the crashes built up I grew ever more wary about greasy roads, although my most memorable slip was on oil dropped by a truck over a railway bridge in Lewisham, NSW. I survived the slide with grazes but the motorbike rider who went down next was far more infuriated about the whole thing - and rightly so. Beware the unexpected.
To come: 2 flat sprinters' stages. Watch for McEwen, see if he can actually take a win this year. After that the Giro becomes truly brutal. Expect a few non-Italian-team sprinters to fold their tents and pack it in. The mountain men will dominate from that point, although a couple of climbing-sprinters (like Bettini and Zabel) will hang their hopes on a stage or 2 in-between the mountain passes. Soler would have shone on some of these 20% climbs, but he's now sadly out of the race. Look at Simoni and Contador to have a go instead. Di Luca will surely fade but may dig deep. Kloden may surprise.