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 4 - May 13: Terme Luigiane-Vibo Valentia, 170 km
According to plan
It was a good day today. We started pretty relaxed and cruised out. Aggiano
said he was going to attack straight away and he did, but Cipo's team didn't
want to give him much room. We rode pretty fast because we wanted to get the
day over and done with, especially after the late start.
The game plan for us was: if there's a large group - one of us should be in
it. But there were only three guys in the beginning so we decided to leave it.
It would have been a lot of work for nothing. Anyway, we wanted to do the sprint
for Magnus today and that was really successful. He looked after himself on
the hill, as he was off the back at one point, but came back with Cipo. On the
last climbs he was able to hang in there. He got up for fifth place which was
a confidence booster for him. He actually passed a few guys because he got in
a bit of a shuffle, so he only started 7th or 8th back.
I punctured at 7 km to go, which was unfortunate because normally at 5 km
to go we were going to start to move up. Probably that was the difference, as
Kurt had to do too much work early to position Magnus onto McEwen's wheel.
Personally I felt really good. On the climb I started well back and moved
up. For myself, I'm getting more confident from day to day. Once we get out
of these days for the sprinters, I don't think I'll be struggling so much and
I'll try to get some runs on the board!
The team morale is good. Each day we try and do a bit. We've still got a few
weeks to go, so I'm sure we'll strike gold.
But I think the morale with Cipo is a bit less. He had his whole team riding
all day, then just to get dropped with 7 km to go - that's a hard pill for him
to swallow. He commented afterwards that he's 36 and maybe things are catching
up with him. Magnus and I both reckon maybe he's a little bit underdone. Maybe
he thought he was good enough after Tirreno Adriatico?
He's not missing much though. He only lost the first stage because he's got
a super Petacchi here. The finish on the climb yesterday showed that, and Petacchi
was at the front of the hill again today. He's probably ready to take over from
We were in the village yesterday morning and Petacchi comes in with the Maglia
Rosa. People all wanted him to sign autographs...until Cipo came in. Then they
all went flying over to Cipo! He's got bodyguards to get him through the crowd.
Poor old Petacchi just sat down and had a coffee.
I've got to tell you a story about Lars Bak. We call him junior because he's
the youngest rider. He's got three phones: One for his family, one for his girlfriend
and one for Jennifer Lopez, who he says has a direct line to him.
Today in the start village Lars saw one of the good looking blonde Gazzetta
girls walking by, and started to give her admiring compliments about her figure.
Just as she walks past, she said 'thank you' in Danish! Poor old Lars' jaw dropped
to the ground. He had to go and pick it up after it rolled away. Turns out that
her mother is Danish. But you'd normally think the odds of her speaking perfect
Danish would be pretty low.
Onto tomorrow. In the morning we've got a boat ride, then the stage, then
a 7pm flight in the evening, then our first rest day. I think it's going to
be a fast stage tomorrow. There's a second category climb but it's not steep.
I've done it before in the Tour of Sicily one year. I think Petacchi's team
will be doing everything to make sure he's still in pink going into the rest
Ciao for now,