Monday, September 20, 2021
HomeDiariesGiro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 11: Assisi - Montecatini Terme 243km. Alex...

Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 11: Assisi – Montecatini Terme 243km. Alex Rasmussen’s View

-

A man who’s been working hard in defence of Garmin’s pink jerseys – first on the shoulders of Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas and then Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal – is Danish fast man, Alex Rasmussen. Alex took time to chat to his Six Day runner (me!) before the roll out at Assisi on Wednesday, en route Montecatini Terme.

Montecatini Terme
A nice picture of our pal Alex.

If he’d had been one of the counting riders in the team time trial, it would have been him pulling on the pink jersey, not his Lithuanian team mate.

But blocked legs meant that he slid off the back of the Garmin Express.

Montecatini Terme
Alex is going very well in this Giro. Image©Slipstream

We started by asking about that stage 4 TTT – which came immediately after the rest day, in Verona.

“I was good in Denmark, third in the prologue and good legs in the two road stages.

“And whilst stage three was tricky and there was that crash, I didn’t need a rest! In Verona, my legs were just blocked, I don’t like rest days – you lose the rhythm of the race and there’s all that sitting about . . .

“Since stage five I’ve felt good – we’ve been working hard in defence of the jersey, first with Ramunas, then Ryder. The stage in to Assisi (stage 10) yesterday was easy for us, though – Katusha took it up for the whole stage.

“It was ‘compatto’ until the foot of the last two climbs, I sat up with six or seven K to go. The mountains worry me a little bit, but you just have to fight, like Cav did the other day. I was actually in that group with him but was worried we’d miss the cut so rode away from the gruppetto with an Italian rider.

“Now that Ryder has lost the jersey to Rodriguez, it’s unlikely we’ll get it back – but that makes life easier for us because we don’t have to work to defend the jersey. There are still sprint stages to come but they’ll be very hard to control – there are still teams in the race with nothing to show and they’ll be desperate to get in to breaks.

“My goal is survival, now – my target is the last time trial. I was unlucky with that puncture in the last kilometre in 2011 – I’m hoping for better, this year.

“Alan Peiper is with us at Garmin this year, I worked with him at HTC and it’s good to be back with him – he understands me as a rider.”

Montecatini Terme
Peiper hands instructions and a bottle to Alex. Image©Slipstream

Today? It’s the longest stage of the race at 255 K.

“It’ll either be a little break which is controlled and it’ll end in a sprint – or a big break which will go all the way. It’s hard to say.”

It was the former; Manuele Boaro was last of the escapees to succumb, in the streets of Montecatini.

The finale was a technical one, again.

We’d hoped to drive the finish circuit but it was closed to all non race traffic.

We settled for a ‘hing spot’ on the barriers at 500 to go.

Frank is playing the victim in this race, he seems to be able to blame everyone and everything for what happens to him.

The speed of the peloton through the streets was mad.

Sky were up there, but not in numbers – Kennaugh and Thomas, with Cav near the front.

Cav’s there, with a couple of teammates.

But it was Ferrari who triumphed – Modolo went into the last corner too fast, dropped it and baulked those behind.

Ferrari was well placed and didn’t need to be asked twice. Local boy Chicchi almost nailed him but had lost momentum when Modolo came down.

Maglia Rosa Rodriguez sign on and autographs.

Cav was baulked too, he could have been second, but sat up – ‘places of honour’ are no use to Cav.

Cipollini, in his column in the Gazzetta reckons that Cav blew it by coming in to the last corner on too high a gear, it was too heavy to wind back up before the line.

Sasha Modolo.

The Gazzetta actually backs Vik’s view that Sky haven’t quite got the train right; ‘Il treno Sky non ha funzionato‘ they say.

With HTC, lead outs were an art form, dropping Cav off exactly where he needed to be, irrespective of how technical the finale percorso.

At Sky, if it’s flat, fast and straight, then most times they get it sorted.

But in tricky last K’s like in Montecatini, Cav is left to his own devices – and opportunists like Ferrari come in to their own.

Medium mountains, tomorrow – first sort out?

A domani!

Ballons and Cows.
A sombre place to finish up with today.
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 5: Modena – Fano 199km. Cav is back!

I have to be careful with this one. Cav: I think I might be turning in to a fan here in Modena! There! - I've said it. To take his first stage, he had to display coolness, decisiveness and pure speed...

Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 7: Recanati – Rocca di Cambio 202km. Ryder!

I didn't manage to see stage seven to Rocca di Cambio - it fell on 'D minus one' for the VeloVeritas annual excursion to Italia. The loose ends were many and instead of having plenty of time to pack my bag and watch the Giro, I was 'running aboot daft' in the van. And Saturday evening rituals still had to be observed - a wee bite to eat and a movie. It's not as if you can say; 'I'm off to Italy the morn love, so we're no' going out tonight - I have a bag to pack and a Giro stage to skek !'

Giro d’Italia 2011, Stage 8: Sapri – Tropea 217km

Just one stage to go - I'll miss the race, the coffee, the weather, the Gazzetta - but not the time spent sitting in the car, before, during and after stages. Saturday was a monstro - Salerno was where we spent the night; we had a two hour drive to the start, then a 217 kilometre stage followed by a mad breenge to the Sicily ferry, on the very toe of the Italian boot. At least the ferry was very straightforward, no dramas; and we did get a chat with Paolo Bettini - a nice guy.

Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 5: Cosenza – Matera, 203km. Intacto, or, a Solo Bunch Sprint.

There’s a great Spanish movie from 2001 starring Max von Sydow called ‘Intacto.’ The premise of the film is that for some people luck isn’t a matter of sheer chance; it’s a commodity which they possess and which they can trade – or steal. Argos fast man John Degenkolb may be one of them. Granted it wasn’t luck that he was actually in the group of 95 which contested the finish – which is more than can be said for Cav, Gavazzi, Goss and Modolo.

Marco Pinotti – Giro Time Trial Winner

It was way back in 1999 when Marco Pinotti signed his first pro contract, with Lampre Daikin. The Italian team is still with us – and so is the time trial specialist from Bergamo.

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 7; Frosinone – Foligno, 214 km. Desperate Nacer Bouhanni

'Desperate' is defined as; ‘having a great need or desire for something.’ It was Vik who used the word when describing Bouhanni’s win in Bari in that ‘semi-neutralised’ slippery Stage Four. Bouhanni had to change a wheel with 13 K to go and rain slick roads or not, the Frenchman and his domestiques rode like madmen to get him where he had to be. The man was desperate to win. He was the same today; F des J put the most savagery into the chasing down of the five escapees – for a long time I thought they’d stay clear. But F des J more than any other team wanted them back – and Bouhanni didn’t disappoint.

At Random

The First Tour Doon Hame

We're off to the first edition of the Tour Doon Hame. I grew up with 'The Girvan' - in fact, it took me a long time to stop myself from referring to it as the 'Grant's of Girvan.' Ronnie Boa won it way back when; Henk Lubberding won a stage, Sean Yates, Dave Lloyd, Tony Doyle, all famous names to associate with Girvan.

John Hughes – Top amateur in the ’90s; “winning the National Road Race was nice but it’s not like racing in Europe”

He was 1991 British Amateur Champion, won the Franco-Belge against top opposition and took the major French Classic, Paris-Chauny - but was out of the sport by the age of 25 with his best years yet to come. His name; John Hughes. We thought he’d have a good tale to tell...

Reflections on the 2011 Track World Champs – Part I, the American Sprinters

The Track World Champs came and went, and whilst criticising the UCI is the fashion their decision to slot the Worlds into the Cobbled Classics season has to be questioned. The original thought process was that it was to accommodate the six day riders coming off the end of their season-and road men before their season got underway.

Norman Hill – Part One, Six Day Racing in the 60’s and 70’s

With just about everything on ‘hold’ awaiting le Tour kicking off in Yorkshire, we thought we’d slip back through the decades to a different era. One where the ‘big motors’ were still the thing; Six Days packed them in and pave didn’t just come in two kilometer packages. You may not have heard of Englishman, Norman Hill – but he has the T-shirt, video and DVD as a ‘stayer,’ Six Day man and kermis rider on the hard roads of Flanders and The Netherlands.

Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 14; Grenoble – Risoul, 177 km. Rafal Majka Magic

Alberto Contador's withdrawal was a huge shock to the Tinkoff team and immediately after it Michael Rogers said; “It’s the first stage without Alberto, and the sadness is not just something we can leave at the rest day hotel. But we have a strong team and we’re all in a good condition. So we’ll be setting new goals and ambitions and shift our focus to taking home stage wins. Cue Rafal Majka.”

James McCallum – Rapha’s ‘Busiest and Oldest’ Pro

We caught up with James McCallum after a busy weekend which combined the British Madison Championships, a Revolution meeting and a cyclo-cross.