Giro d’Italia: Riders confusion after “compulsory” late night dinner
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Giro d’Italia: Riders confusion after “compulsory” late night dinner

by Ben Atkins at 12:47 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia

giro d'italiaThe main issue with hosting the first three stages of the Giro d’Italia in the Netherlands has always been the matter of transferring the race more than 1000km south to the start of stage 4. After a tough 224km stage beset with crosswinds and crashes, followed by a flight, riders would have been anxious to get to their hotel beds as quickly as possible. There was however a flurry of “tweets” on the social networking site Twitter late yesterday evening from confused and disgruntled riders, indicating that this had not been the case.

World champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) lost the race lead in yesterday’s stage after he was caught behind a crash in the last 10km. The Australian wrote: “Key to a 3 week stage race? Recovery....that explains why we're (Liquigas, Garmin, Bmc) nearly at our hotel at 1230am...?”

The situation was explained by Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen (Katusha), who wrote: “Caught in the crash @ 10k to go today. No result. Just made plane transfer to Italy+ to top off long day, a compulsory teams dinner@ 1130pm”

An official reception and dinner had been organised on the riders’ arrival in the Piemonte town of Cuneo. Attendance, it appears, was not optional.

Italian time trial champion Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) was one of those expressing confusion over the event, with “this is crazy...” as his first comment, to which he attached a picture of the scene. “Landed in Cuneo airport at 23.15, then "special" dinner, 30' for pasta and don’t know how long for the meat. we left earlier,” was his more descriptive second post.

The HTC-Columbia rider did not wish to seem ungrateful for the trouble that had been gone to on the riders’ behalf, but expressed a need for organisers to understand the plight of riders part way through a three week race. “I'm trying to understand the good intentions of who organized the dinner, but it came out kind of mess. Please more respect for riders,” was his final comment.

British rider Charly Wegelius (OmegaPharma-Lotto), who lives in Italy for most of the year, was slightly more sarcastic. “Random midnight dinner disco show event. Amazing,” he commented with a picture, before adding: “We are eating in a tent at airport at midnight while hundreds of people gawp at us and take photos. Remarkable spectacle.”

“What a meat market!!!” he exclaimed, before ending with: “Just got to hotel. 00.35 local time. Quite a day.”

Luckily for the 196 riders left in the race – not to mention the team staff – today is a rest day. With a 33km team time trial tomorrow and the race’s first forays into the mountains coming shortly after, most of them could have done without last night’s events.


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