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2003 Giro d'Italia rider journals

Scott Sunderland

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Nationality: Australian
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 6 - May 16: Maddaloni-Avezzano, 222 km

Cranking it up again

It was another good day today, although after the rest day when we woke up, everyone was a bit seedy and doughy. Yesterday we didn't do much, just a short ride. I went for an hour, came back, ducked up the street, got a haircut, did some shopping, bought some batteries for the discman. Then we had a big lunch and I was really hungry. We had risotto and steak, then an hour's sleep in the afternoon and a massage. By the time I'd finished doing some stretching and a bit of reading, we were ready for dinner.

And yes, a couple of guys had a gelato...

You make the best of the rest days. It was a long day the day before. I talked to some of the Kelme boys today and they were pretty tired from the travelling. Up early, late for dinner - the body was going the whole day.

Fireworks today

Today's stage was good. It was a long stage but we were moving all day. The first attack was Moreni, who ended up being in the break later on. We were doing 60-65 km/h on the flat, just going and going with not much wind, we were really motoring. Finally a bit of a break went, then Magnus just launched himself off the front by himself. He hammered for a couple of kilometres, looked around and he only had two guys on his wheel. The Kelme guy was breathing pretty hard though, and it took another two kms before he could come through.

It was a pity Moreni was in the break, because he was only a minute down on GC. If it had just been the two of them, they might have been given more room. I don't understand why Moreni wanted to go away with a minute, especially when you have the pink jersey in his last day. Also Cipo was up for it too, so you had two teams working to pull them back.

If Moreni had have been 1 minute further down on GC, then maybe. There was a long hill where the peloton took back a minute. It was a climb which was the hardest of the day, but had no category. Work that out! Any other time they would have ridden a nice tempo and the break would have even gained a minute. If they had waited until after that hill, then maybe. But that's how it is. That's bike racing.

It was a big effort from Maggie. He got quite a bit of coverage. And he also got maximum points for the scooter. The guy who spends the most time in front gets a Piaggio scooter. A yellow one, like they have in the race. He picked up some Intergiro points too.

When they got caught we moved up to the front with 5 km to go and I tried to get our guys organised. By the time I got to the front I had two guys left, we were meant to have five, as we've got a couple of young guys here trying to get into that role. The aim was to get into the corners in front and get Werner Riebenbauer into a good position. How it split at the end is exactly what we were trying to avoid.

The plan was there but...I know what has to be done but the others have not quite got that experience. At least we feel like we've done something. We were able to sit in the wheels all day while Maggie was in front. Our Big Dog (Maggie) is happy, he's very happy and he's done a great job for the team.

(We call the big chain ring the Big Dog, and since Magnus spends most of his time in it...)

Tomorrow the mountains

Personally my legs are good and I know how my fitness level is. I'm confident for tomorrow. I'm actually looking forward to it to see exactly where I am. I think I'll find out in the first few km! Today was very active and there was a bit of jumping around. Tomorrow is going to be similar I think. Saeco Sidermec, Lampre will take control of the race.

My tip for tomorrow is Garzelli. He's riding very strongly now and I think Garzelli will be in pink tomorrow night. If it comes to the sprint he's going to beat them.

For me there's a couple of good days coming up. The day into Faenza (Stage 10) has three or four climbs, and that's the best day for me. I'll know what I can do by tomorrow.

Cipo watch

I think Cipo's just not good enough. He's just short. He's been short since day 1 and that's just it. The Cipo of last year...if he got beaten, it was only just, but third and fourth last year weren't in the same photo! Cipo was close to Petacchi the other day, but third and fourth weren't far behind either.

I think with Cipo it's a mental thing. The day after tomorrow he's got another chance. He may call it quits tomorrow though. Then again, he only needs one and he'll equal the record. If he's got the attitude it's possible he'll get that one, and Petacchi could end up getting a bit of a downer. You never know how it can turn.


We were lucky with the rain today, and didn't get too wet. So far the forecast is not good for tomorrow with more rain. I hope Maggie doesn't go fast in the beginning...

Dinner time now!


See also: Magnus Backstedt interview: A day off in Napoli.