Snow, freezing fog: more epic conditions await Giro riders on first mountain stage
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Snow, freezing fog: more epic conditions await Giro riders on first mountain stage

by Conal Andrews at 6:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Another very tough day in store

Following yesterday’s mud bath, which produced some of the most dramatic racing scenes thus far this year, the riders in the Giro d’Italia face another character-testing day in the saddle. Today’s eighth stage is the first real mountain stage of the race, takes the riders 189 kilometres to the summit finish of Monte Terminillo and, to compound the difficulty, will see the peloton duke it out in freezing conditions.

Reports from the top of the climb confirm that snow was falling overnight, with temperatures around freezing point. And while a slight increase in degrees has meant that raindrops, rather than flakes, are now peppering the ground, the chilling fog at the 1668 metre summit is going to present an added difficult to riders already fatigued after yesterday’s battle.

World road race champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) proved toughest yesterday, rocketing away from Damiano Cunego (Lampre Farnese Vini) and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) on the slight rise to the finish line in Montalcino. They were part of a five-man group which went away on the muddied Strade Bianche, the famous unsurfaced roads of the region.

Overnight race leader Vincenzo Nibali, his Liquigas team-mate Ivan Basso and Cervélo Test Team leader Carlos Sastre each crashed and lost between two minutes and five minutes 20 seconds. They need to make up that time today and, form permitting, will blitz race leader Vinokourov plus the rest of the peloton with their attacks on the final climb.

This, the difficult of the final climb and the gruelling conditions suggest that another superb day of racing is in store.


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