Primož Roglič has compared himself to the fictitious heavyweight champion ‘Rocky’ Balboa as he fights the pain of another crash and the daily battles out on the roads of the Giro d’Italia.
Everyone in the Corsa Rosa is rolling with the punches and fighting to stay upright in some way or another after a tough first half of the race.
Riders, teams and race organisers have faced repeated days of cold rain and multiple cases of COVID-19. The riders have been soaked by rain on 10 of the 12 stages raced so far, with no one ever recalling such a wet and weather-miserable Italian May.
Only 136 riders are left in the peloton, with 40 already heading home due to illness, crashes or the return of COVID-19 in the peloton. Remco Evenepoel was the biggest name to catch COVID-19 but a dozen teams have faced at least one case amongst riders and staff, with Evenepoel’s Soudal-QuickStep team down to just three riders.
The Giro d’Italia social media described Tao Geoghegan Hart’s crash as a ‘punch to the stomach’. Everyone could see the Ineos Grenadiers rider was in pain when he crashed and realised how cruelly professional cycling and Grand Tour racing can be.
A cloud of pessimism has slowly gathered over the Giro d’Italia, the only ray of sunshine being the aggressive racing on each stage and the enthusiasm for the final showdown for overall in the high mountains starting on Friday.
Race director Mauro Vegni has been working hard to keep the Giro d’Italia rolling despite the numerous difficulties and daily problems. He has tried to appease the riders and teams while also fighting back against the pessimism.
The risk of avalanches on the Col du Grand Saint-Bernard during Friday’s stage means the riders will pass below the summit via a long tunnel but Vegni has confirmed the race will climb the subsequent Croix de Coeur climb, despite concerns about the rough descent.
Snow is forecast for Saturday’s ride back into Italy as the riders climb the Passo del Sempione but Vegni is praying to the weather gods that the stage can go ahead as planned.
More stringent anti-COVID-19 measures appear to have controlled the cases in the peloton, with the riders now protected in a bubble, with face mask obligatory for anyone in close contact with them at starts and finishes.
Vegni and the riders know they have been fortunate compared to the residents of Emilia Romagna that have been hit by floods in recent days. The Giro d’Italia was in the area for Saturday’s…
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at CyclingNews RSS Feed…