Giro d’Italia: Gerdemann, Sastre rue lost time in Plan de Corones time trial
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Giro d’Italia: Gerdemann, Sastre rue lost time in Plan de Corones time trial

by Conal Andrews at 3:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Climbers struggle on tough day

Linus GerdemannMilram’s Linus Gerdemann’s goal of a top ten finish in this year’s Giro d’Italia suffered a blow yesterday when he could only finish 103rd in the mountain time trial to the top of the Plan de Corones. The German rider was ill and conceded a considerable 5 minutes 59 seconds to the stage winner Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone).

"I have never before felt so awful on the bike,” the exhausted rider said after the stage. “Last night I could barely sleep and fought my way up the mountain with a ceaseless cough. That was absolute torture.”

Gerdemann had begun the stage ninth overall, 7 minutes and 12 seconds behind the race leader David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne), and dropped three places to twelfth, 10’55 back. While the outcome of the mountain time trial on his GC position was not huge, the fact that he is ill means that he has an uphill battle to get back into the top ten of the general classification.

Directeur sportif Christian Henn admitted that the team would now take things one stage at a time. “Linus has struggled with a cold for three days. This is the effect of the bad weather during the Giro,” he said. “His bronchitis made it very difficult for him today. From now on we will look at it day by day.”

Another who was unhappy with his showing was the Cervélo Test Team leader Carlos Sastre. He has hardly raced this year and was hoping to come strong in the final week of the Giro, deciding to enter the race as fresh as possible in order to capitalise on having strong reserves. However he has looked to be lacking sharpness since the start in the Netherlands and dropped two and a half minutes to Garzelli yesterday. Nineteenth on the stage saw him drop one place to fifth in the general classification. A podium finish is still possible, but he will have to turn things around considerably if he still entertains hopes of taking the pink jersey. Right now, he’s facing an uphill battle and he knows it.

“The classification is what it is. The result isn't a good one and of course it isn't what I'd expected, but when you’ve reached your limit, you can’t lose your morale or start thinking negatively,” he said. “We’re another day on in this year’s Giro, which isn’t turning out as I’d expected. But the problems that were hanging over me from the start are now sorted and I've got nothing to object to.”

Nineteenth at the summit is not what he was aiming for, and he felt that he lost most of his momentum early on. “I would say that I was riding well. The first part was a lot more open and wind was coming in from all directions. That was the stretch that I found hardest, but I set what I felt was a good pace throughout and in the second part I was riding a lot better. I pushed a bit harder and I think I managed to increase the pace.”

He was watched closely by the Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, who followed him on a motorbike. “The time trial was unbelievably tough, but what made the biggest impression on me was the number of people cheering on the riders throughout the whole course,” he said.

Alonso has stated that one of his goals is to set up a professional cycling team, and on several occasions he has been liked to Alberto Contador, who would be the preferred leader. His presence yesterday may prompt some to ponder if Sastre could also be part of such a project, but it’s early days yet.


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