First before anything else I should apologise for the big gap in writing here. It’s been a hectic few days here at the Giro to say the least! It seems that every stage has had one drama or another ever since we’ve been back in Italy.
The whole peloton was really grateful in Biri (stage 4) when the last lap of the race was neutralised and everyone finished with the same time. As you might have seen from the race footage, it was complete carnage even though half the field had sat up.
Stage 5 was was similar. The weather held out for most of the day, but just so the spectators wouldn’t be disappointed it rained just in time for the final and there was a massive crash which all of team Belkin got caught up in put except for our two leaders who managed to keep in front of it it all.
Stage 7 was a big mess for a lot of teams. It stayed dry for six hours and forty five minutes (250km), yes I was counting, and right on cue it started bucketing down just in time for the final dash to the bottom of the finishing climb. For a situation like this every team has to have their lead man right at the front of the peloton as we reach the bottom of the climb, but the road is not wide enough for everyone!
It was extremely slippery and we were coming fast into a roundabout with a “he who brakes first loses” mentality and the next second most of the field hit the deck. Most of Belkin came down including me as well as our two GC leaders. Wilco (Kelderman) was quick to get back on his bike and didn’t loose to much time on his rivals, however Stevie (Kruijswijk) came down hard and unfortunately his GC ambitions are now finished! Cycling can be cruel sometimes. So much work, dedication and sacrifice can be all for nothing in the snap of a finger! That said, none of us would switch jobs for anything else in the world!
Yesterday’s stage stayed dry for a bunch sprint, but it was fairly solid racing all the same! Plenty of guys are suffering with missing skin and all sorts of other injuries, so there are a lot of guys just in survival mode until they heal up…if they heal up.
We start to get in the serious hills in the next two stages so we should get some clues of who’s moving the best and what’s to come in the next couple of weeks!
The food we eat
Instead of just talking racing in each blog I figure that I’ll try to talk about some different aspects of racing a Grand Tour, and one very important aspect is the food we eat. It’s our petrol, and I’m sure everyone has heard the saying, “you don’t put bad fuel in a Ferrari.” For the kind of racing we’re putting our bodies through I think it’s the same!
Here at Belkin we are sponsored by a company called Daily Fresh who provide all our food as well as a Dutch bakery who provides all the bread. We also have a chef to prepare everything – Jesper Boom. You guessed it; cycling runs in the family. His brother Lars rides for the team, and father is on of the mechanics.
It’s a massive advantage having Jesper and Daily Fresh along with with the team nutritionist plan the meals according to race demands.
For me, breakfast will normally be a big omelet with bread and cheese along with rice or oats for the carbs. Here in Italy I’ll normally polish off a few doppio macchiatos for good measure seeing the coffee here is so good!
During long stages I try to mix my up my bottles; one with water and one with energy drink to help my stomach, and I’ll stick with more natural things such as small paninis/bananas in the first half of the race and save the bars and gels for the second half. The stomach cops a flogging in these races so you have to take care of it!
After big stages I’ll sip on a protein shake the moment I step onto the bus. Then the bus driver prepares a small meal from Daily Fresh (normally rice or pasta) in the microwave which get us to the hotel. Generally we all head straight to the food room on arrival where the swannies have a big fruit salad with dried fruit and cereal waiting for us. Jesper usually makes something else like a juice or smoothy that gets us through massage and osteo treatment, but by dinner normally hunger strikes again.
Dinner will comprise of a small salad to start, and then either fish, red or white meat along with a few different choices of carbs. Maybe rice/pasta/spuds and some veggies for colour! Alcohol is allowed but I try to stay away from it because I don’t like stoping at only one glass as I find it affects my sleep.
The Dutchies absolutely love their peanut butter and have it on bread with most of their meals along with chocolate sprinkles,honey or jam. I also really like it but try to keep it contained just to one meal. Some of the foreign guys who are on the team get a bit corrupted with the chocolate and peanut butter and seem to point it on a little to much! But I think a little helps with the moral.
We go through heaps of food each day and although I may have made it sound simple there’s a lot of planning that goes into all the food we eat each day! But in these races it’s a must! Yesterday for example, the time it took to step away from the bus until we got back was 270kms and over 7 hours!
Until the rest day …