Last-minute Giro d’Italia starter Thomas Gloag described himself as ‘barely awake’ but still ‘super-excited’ to be taking part in the race after the young Jumbo-Visma rider was brought in as a substitute for injured teammate Jan Tratnik.
Tratnik fell heavily in a training crash on Friday, and after getting a call, Gloag had less than 24 hours to get himself from Spain to Italy for his first-ever Grand Tour start.
The 21-year-old Briton arrived at the team hotel in the middle of the night and will now form part of the squad helping Primož Roglič fight for overall victory. But as he said after completing the time trial, he will need some time for it to sink in that he is actually taking part in the Giro d’Italia.
“I was planning on going up to Andorra for a training camp just for some time away training for the next block of racing I had,” Gloag told reporters at the finish line. “I had had some time off after Romandie,” where he finished eleventh overall, “then came back after four hours [training].
“I had left the phone off with the data off, and saw had about 50 missed notifications from every man and his dog on the team, and I thought oh dear, this is not good.
“I picked up the phone to Grischa [Niermann, sports director], and it was classic Dutch – he’s German, but he’s got a Dutch mentality – and he said ‘I’ll keep it short, you’re going to the Giro’. And I was like ‘OK, then’.”
Having received the call around 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon, Gloag said it had been under 24 hours since he knew he was going to Italy and taking part in the Giro d’Italia. He had to pack up both bikes and bags to ship across to Italy, as it had not been planned he would take part, and he arrived at the hotel at around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Just getting through the opening time trial was an achievement in itself under those circumstances and Gloag said he had not particularly enjoyed it. However, he could appreciate that the opportunity to ride the Giro was a huge one.
“Warming up I felt good, and then I’d spent so long sitting in the plane and then the car that when I got on the bike my glutes were really stiff. I was just fighting the bike, anyway, to be honest I never look very pretty on a time trial bike and I certainly didn’t today.
“But I’m looking forward to riding into the race and what an opportunity this is – the fact that I can say I’m riding the Giro d’Italia is extremely special.”
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