The thing about doing a “diary” piece with a rider is that there are two sides to the coin. If you like the man and have “connected” with him then you can’t help but share in the optimism and elation of a good day; on the days when it’s not going so well though, you can’t avoid the disappointment and hollowness.
When I spoke to Dario after the Giro’s first sojourn into the serious hills on stage seven I could tell immediately from his voice that things were not the best.
“Hi Dario it’s Ed from Pez, you sound a little tired, do you want me to ring later?”
“Yes I am very tired, but it is OK to talk now, we are on the bus.”
Cioni feeling good in the Belgian stages.
PEZ – “How did the stage go?”
Dario – It went badly, I had problems on the climbs and lost 20 minutes, I finished in the same group as McEwen.
PEZ – Was that on Monte Catria?
Dario – No before that, on the first steep climb of the day, I had a problem with
my back and it was preventing me putting the power down through the pedals.
I think it is maybe an after-effect of the crash I had in Belgium, sometimes it is like that with crashes, the reaction is delayed and you suffer a few days later.
Everything changes now, the GC is gone and I must first try and recover. For the team it is maybe a good thing because it means we can concentrate on
Danilo for the GC.
PEZ – Danilo didn’t look to be on a great day either.
Dario – I think perhaps he suffered for the work he did in the team time trial on
Thursday. Sometimes too it is like that on the first day in the mountains, you
struggle to find the rhythm. He wasn’t at his best, but part of stage racing is that you must get through the bad days and he has come through one without losing too much time.”
PEZ – Cunego cracked a little too at the end today after working his team so hard in the finale.
Dario – On a stage like today, when it is so long and hard, the difference between feeling good and bad can be very little, when Cunego sent his team to the front he would be OK but the way you feel can change so quickly.”
The smile is real – taken before the start of stage 7.
PEZ – What about tomorrow?
Dario – I have not studied the parcours closely yet but it is largely flat with a
mountain-top finish. For the non-GC riders is not so difficult but the GC riders must watch each other very closely. Danilo lives in the area and obviously wants to do well at the finish.”
I don’t want to out-stay my welcome so begin to wind our chat to a close,
but Dario tells me; “I saw my second diary story on Pez, I liked the picture
“You look like a hero with all those bandages on,” I reply and he laughs.
It was maybe a bad day at the office but his sense of humour is still
intact, that can’t be a bad thing.
Dario dropped from 14th @ 00.58 to 113th @ 21.49 during the course of this
stage, demonstrating graphically the tight rope walk nature of major stage
racing. On Sunday’s tough climb to Maieletta, he lost another 16 minutes – a brutal day for a guy who normally climbs in the front group. After today’s deceptively hilly stage to Termoli, Dario lies in 106th spot, 38:02 back.
We’ll be talking to Dario all through this Giro, let’s hope for better news