Giro d’Italia Stage 16 – Matty Wilson, As Tough As They Come
One guy who I’ve been paying attention to throughout the Giro is Matty Wilson. I know very well how good of a bike rider Matty is and he’s sitting in last spot in the GC. It has nothing to do with the fact that he’s the slowest rider of the peloton of course. Far from it. It actually underscores the grit and determination that he raced with his entire career. His results don’t tell the story about how he’s been slogging it up at the front of the group protecting Christophe Le Mevel for the majority of the race. They don’t show the suffering he’s been going through while riding sick as a dog.
He was rooming with Brett Lancaster who was also crook and had to abandon the race just the other day. That’s not the only thing Matty’s had to deal with. Last week he crashed, tore half the skin off his backside and hand, and developed a cyst on his palm. After all this he continued to race while barely even able to hold onto his handlebars. He’ll never complain to anyone about this though. Let me tell you, Matty is as tough as nails.
I’ve only met Matt a few times before, but I know his story very well. He’s always been a talented bike rider and an extremely nice guy. Hestarted his career racing on the Aussie National Team back in the late 90’s in Italy with Baden Cooke. With mediocre results and no motivation, he decided to pack it in and move back to Melbourne. He ended up worked at bars and restaurants without touching or thinking about the bike.
After about year of this he went to the doctor to see why he was feeling so lethargic. Tests revealed he had cancer (Hodgkin’s). After radiation therapy, spending weeks in the hospital, and probably the scariest days of his life, Matty started thinking about his cycling career and what could have been. Fortunately the treatments were successful, and he picked up the bike again.
After Matty’s recovery he worked at his bar job getting himself out of debt, saving some money, and training his ass off the rest of the time. He began getting results finishing 3rd in the Bay Crits in 2001 and decided to make the move back to Europe. With no team and only a credit card, he sold his bike for extra cash and bought a one way ticket to ride on a Belgian team for no pay. (Gen-Y, if you’re reading, this is how it was done. 10yrs ago there wasn’t such a clear path to Europe ).
Jump ahead (there’s lots I’m leaving out) and Matt was riding better and better. Baden Cooke helped him get his big break with FdJeux and managed to get some good results including 20th in the Tour of Flanders, finishing the Tour de France and Giro, Australian National Road Champion, 16th Milan San Remo, 1st Overall in Herald Sun Tour. He’s had his fair share of ups and downs in his career since then, but here he is racing the Giro again – with more heart than anyone.
I highly recommend you read the full account of Matty’s story in this cyclingnews’ interview if you want a good dose of inspiration. Matt Wilson is a guy who’s gone through some hard times and a little stomach virus isn’t going to stop him from racing the Giro. From what people tell me, you won’t find anyone more appreciative of the opportunity that he’s worked so hard for to ride his bike.
check out his website here.
Cam’s Giro Diary
Wake up body its time to go hard again. A total difference between the past three days. An 8 hour monster stage to a day of sleeping and riding for only an hour easy to a 32 minute full tilt mountain time trial. The body didn’t know what hit it.
The lungs were bursting for oxygen as the final 7km had a nasty average gradient of 8% hitting 14% in sections. Today I wanted to finish around mid field. I didn’t want to go over the top super deep which is hard not to do while going up a mountain of this size but this sort of time trial suits the real climbers so I just needed to open the legs and ride a solid time without going over the top.
I placed 80th which was where I wanted to be and rode the time trial at a good constant pace. It was amazing going past so many screaming fans and the Italians take this sport so seriously that almost the whole way up they were saying Go Meyer.
David Millar had a good solid ride finishing in the 20’s. Look out for him in the final time trial come Milan.
An interesting fact about racing in the final week of the Giro is heart rates. Today I would not of gone over 170 bpm. I most likely would of been in the high 150’s to 160’s. Our bodies are getting fitter and fitter as the tour goes on and also more and more tired which all adds up to a low heart rate. Scary to think when the average watts for a time trial like yesterday are over 400 but the average heart rate is 160 bpm.
230km on the cards tomorrow. My pick the break away will win so look out for our team who will be looking to put someone in there.
courtesy of Veeral Patel, Sirotti, and RCS
Stage 16 Results
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:28:55
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:34
3 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:00:38
4 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:39
5 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone 0:00:46
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:00:49
7 Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC 0:00:52
8 Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad 0:00:58
9 Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Movistar Team 0:00:59
10 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Acqua & Sapone 0:01:04
80 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:03:24
94 Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:03:41
160 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:05:37
General Classification after Stage 16
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 62:43:37
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:04:58
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:05:45
4 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:07:35
5 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli 0:09:18
6 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:09:22
7 Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC 0:09:38
8 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:09:47
9 Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:10:25
113 Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard 2:15:35
137 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 2:37:15
165 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 3:24:59
Stage 17 Preview