Rubens Bertogliati: “That’s the hardest climb in Switzerland”
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Rubens Bertogliati: “That’s the hardest climb in Switzerland”

by Ben Atkins at 6:27 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Suisse
 
Swiss time trial champion reflects on a tough day climbing and descending in the Tour de Suisse

rubens bertogliatiRubens Bertogliati (Team Type 1-sanofi) was one of a 31-rider break at the beginning of the third stage of the Tour de Suisse, between Brig-Glis and Grindelwald. The Swiss time trial champion lost contact as the race made its way over the 1st category Grimselpass, and would not regain the front group again.

"The break went from the very beginning of the race, but there were around 30 riders in it,” he said after the stage, “and we never got more than a one or two minute advantage with the rain and fog on the Grimsel."

Having experienced the Grimselpass a number o times before, it was not that one that gave the Swiss rider the biggest shock though, but the following hors category climb that was to follow.

"I think that's the hardest climb in Switzerland,” he said. “I've done this race eight times, and never gone up the Grosse Scheidegg before. The first climb was familiar, but that last mountain was brand new, and it was really hard.”

It was not only the climbs that Bertogliati and his teammates found tough though, with the two descents proving just as challenging; the Grimselpass had to be descended in the same rain and low visibility as they climbed it, while the Grosse Scheidegg proved to be just as steep on the way down as it had been on the way up.

"That was probably the fastest downhill I have ever done in my life,” said Alessandro Bazzana of the wet descent of the Grimselpass. “We were going at least 90km in the tunnels, and there's really nothing else to do but shut your mind off and try to just let the bike do the work.”

Bazzana's thoughts were echoed by teammate Javier Megias.

"Over the first climb I was in the first group,” he said, “but the descent was where the race spread out, and there was nothing you could do because it felt so dangerous.”

Megias is one of the members of the team who has Type 1 Diabetes and has to monitor his blood glucose constantly, taking insulin periodically to manage the disease.

"I averaged about 30km an hour today in the race,” he said, “and I felt pretty good on the first climb until the final kilometre, when it was rainy and foggy. I had a starting BG around 210, and was 195 at the end, so the day was perfect and I ate bars and panninos no problem.”

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