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2003 Giro d'Italia rider journals

Scott Sunderland

Index to all entries

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 7 - May 17: Avezzano-Terminillo, 146 km

Realising expectations

Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Yes, it was good today. Without being over the top, it was what I expected I could have achieved if things went well. I've still got my feet on ground, but I've known since my early career that's the sort of thing I can do. With age I can have more consistency.

If you take into account that five minutes I lost on that descent in stage 3 and the puncture that cost me another minute in stage 4, I'd be around 25th instead of 50th on GC...That's just the way it goes. On the other hand, I know I'm climbing well. I'd rather have a stage win than a 20th on the classement. That's what I do when I wake up in the morning. let's see what I have to do to win the stage.

Otherwise it was nice. It was lucky on one side as far as I'm feeling, because I've been having these migraines for three days. Our soigneur Robin did a lot of work on trigger points, which is helping me but not lasting. But I knew an osteopath, who is a friend of Frank Høj's from Copenhagen. He's done a couple of races with us this year and he's very good. I spoke to Kim about getting him down here, and although it's a lot of money for an osteo on this race, there are a few riders with different problems.

24 hrs later he was on the plane, and he worked on me last night. Besides doing my neck, he also did my right leg. One of the nerves in my lower back was getting pinched, and switching off the muscles in the right leg. That means you're not using the muscles you should be. I noticed I could pedal a lot more fluidly and in smaller gears.

I was probably a little bit reserved on the climb, but that's a good thing because I don't feel knackered now. I haven't done a climb like that since the Tour of Austria in June last year. I had no idea how I'd be: good, bad or medium. Of course it's a long way to go.

With Pantani
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

The climb was an average of 7.3 percent with a maximum of 12 percent at the beginning and the end. It was 16 km long. For me I was pretty happy with it and how I was feeling. In the beginning when Sidermec were riding they gave full gas. I looked how many riders they had left and how they were peeling off and thought I could hang in there. No sooner had I thought that, then Simoni and Saeco went to the front. Then I had to let go and ride my own tempo. I thought if I blow up here it's a long way to the top.

I survived that and kept riding. Then Pantani came along and we had a bit of a group going with Marco Velo. We were picking up riders who were blowing up. Pantani was just riding a good tempo which was just perfect for me. I was a bit surprised that he dropped off because when Belli bridged the gap to the next group he hesitated. I went through at a good tempo and I didn't see him any more. Marco Velo didn't want to come through. He said he couldn't. I just kept riding and used the guys in front of me as a sight. Belli's group finished 15 seconds in front of me but I just couldn't nail it. I wasn't riding in the red, but I didn't want to go in the red.

I'm happy with the day and mainly that I've got the climbing legs. I haven't done any races this year with climbs over 2-3 km. So the overall base condition is good and we'll just see how it goes from here.

Coming up

We've got a couple of flat days coming up now. Maggie's up for it, and possibly he'll start chasing the Intergiro more. It's 1000 euro a day if you win that because there are no other sprints. Overall it's worth 11-12,000 euro so it's definitely worth going for!

Now we've got six guys for the flat. Rene Jørgensen been sick since day 2, so only Kurt and Jørgen Bo and myself will be for the mountains. Kurt finished a bit down today, but the first day can sometimes be really be good for one person.

The Zoncolan

I was talking to Francesco Vila from Lampre who said that when Casagrande went up the Zoncolan (stage 12) he used a 39 x 25 in training and had to hang onto the car! Casagrande rides big gears normally so we're going for 38 x 27. It's 22 percent in sections so you're not talking a minute or two, you're talking about 5 or 10.

The Formaggi raid

I'll tell you a bit of a story about the police raid on the Formaggi hotel last night. I was talking to Bo Hamburger, who said that only one rider was checked. The reasoning behind it was: this rider goes to a doctor in Pescara who was under investigation. They decided because of the Giro they'll do a raid. But the journalists were there before the police were!! They were there at the beginning of the night. It's just politics and they're just wanting sensation.

They kept the rider there until 12 o'clock at night filling out papers. They looked in the cars and the truck just for formality. He had a few things, just vitamins, and the doctor had already informed them about these.

It's very frustrating from the riders point of view. It's not fair. Here they are trying to do so much for the sport. One or two slip through the lines, but what are we trying to do here? It's just very disappointing that they feel they have to do this so that some judge or policeman can get a name for themselves.

Well, that's all from me for now. Until tomorrow,