2003 Giro d'Italia rider journals
Team: Team fakta-Pata Chips
Scott Sunderland is riding his first three week tour since his infamous crash
in the 1998 Amstel Gold Race, a feat that he didn't think was possible ever
again. The determined and experienced Aussie will be one of the leaders of the
Danish fakta team, which boasts riders like Magnus Bäckstedt, Frank Høj, Jørgen
Bo Petersen and Kurt Asle-Arvesen.
Stage 20 - May 31: Canobio-Cantu, 133 km
An active day
Well, we're almost at the last page of the Giro book. Just one more stage to
come tomorrow. Today was a good race, with a lot of action. It's always like
that the last week with teams controlling the team GC, then guys getting the
Intergiro done, then the mountains thing that was still not 100 percent sure
until the last mountain stage, then the most combative classification, which
is still a little bit open. If Magnus is third in the Intergiro tomorrow he'll
probably win that, and it's worth 6000 euros. He only needs three points to
Today Lampre were up for the points jersey, because if Svorada took out the
Intergiro and placed well at the finish, then he'd take it from Simoni. So that's
why they were riding to keep it together. But we went 10 metres from the start
and the attacks started. We had a 49 km/h average in the first hour. Then it
died down and started up again in the feed zone. I jumped with everything that
looked reasonable. But in the back of my mind I thought I would wait till the
end. The stage was in two parts and the second part was where I thought it would
Personally, I had good legs and I felt I'd recovered well from yesterday.
I was just watching it and was pretty relaxed. 15 guys chipped off the front
just before the Intergiro, then I went across with some others and we ended
up with 27 in front. There were a few attacks, and I was following to see who's
going where. Pantani was sort of trying to move up on GC or I dunno...doing
It was all happening. Velo and Lombardi went out pretty early, because we
still had that climb to go. I thought I still had a good chance as I took off
after Figueras and Mazzoleni on the climb. It was working really well but just
as I put it in the big ring to stomp over the top, I broke a front spoke. The
wheel went out of whack and was rubbing on the forks. I was about 5m off Figueras'
wheel and I had to sit down, rip the quick release off and try to think what
Trying to think quickly and straight with a maximum heartrate is not easy.
I kept going and kept losing ground - they were going away on the descent once
they started working together. I could feel the wheel rubbing and it was all
over the shop. With a 16 spoke wheel when 1 spoke goes, all the wheel goes out
of whack because it's so tightly tensioned.
I asked Kim Andersen what to do but it was only 10 km to go and the neutral
car wasn't there in between the break and us. Kim said just stay there as there's
not much you can do. It would have been impossible to change the wheel and get
back on to do the sprint.
I couldn't get out of the seat at all, and although I tried to move
up for the sprint, I was afraid that the wheel would totally shit itself. The
spoke was banging against the forks and making a terrible sound.
You could say it was a missed opportunity but that's bike racing. I was very
disappointed after the race, very frustrated. But later I was thankful that
nothing worse happened. I'm not saying I would have been a sure winner, although
when Lombardi had to ride like that it would have taken the sting out of him.
It would have been nice to be up there racing for the win, just to finish off
the last road stage of the Giro on a good note.
I got a little bit of time too today. It gives me a little bit of breathing
space tomorrow so I should keep 23rd. But 23rd, 22nd, 25th is all the same really.
Anyway it was good weather and a good race. It's the first real stage that
was really open. The whole day was attacks, no cooperation. It was really only
the last 10km there was cooperation between Mercatone Uno and Landbouwkrediet.
Otherwise the day was wrapped up. Short but sweet. Everybody looked a bit
fresher today, and I had a bit of time to freshen up for tomorrow.
The stage is 33 km tomorrow, so I'll go for a bit of a ride in the morning.
The start isn't too far from the hotel which makes it easier. I can get up and
have brekky, go for a ride for an hour, have lunch at 12, and I start at 3:38.
I'll get ready, warm up and go full gas for 45 minutes (or less). It's going
to be pretty fast, but I don't know if the corners are tight or not. We shall
After the time trial we're heading out for a pizza (finally) and some beers.
There are some of the fakta big bosses watching the stage today and tomorrow.
They're staying here tomorrow night so we'll go with them and probably shoot
the breeze about the race.
All in all it's been a fun Giro. We've had really good weather, with only
two periods of bad weather: the day on the mountain and the other day was when
Cipo went down.
Stay on track for Germany
As we get to the end I'm not letting go, otherwise the body sometimes goes
into that mode of recuperation. That's always the biggest problem between races.
You've got to try and hold that, not that we'll have much of a chance to take
it easy. We have a 12 o'clock flight on Monday that only gets in at 5:30 - these
were the only flights we could get. I might get 30 minutes on the home trainer,
have a massage, and bang into it on Tuesday.
I'll finish off the book tomorrow!