What's Cool In Road Cycling

PEZ Giro Talk With Cummings And Deignan!

On the day of the Plan de Corones we caught up with a couple of riders who are always happy to talk to PEZ and got their thoughts on the show so far. Ed Hood spoke with Barloworld’s Steve Cummings and AG2R’s Phillip Deignan to get their ideas on the show so far.

Steve Cummings of Barloworld is a man who can ride a four kilometre team pursuit at 60 kph with the GB squad – so there’s no problem with speed. But what about entering the third week of a Grand Tour?

“The first week we used up a lot of strength looking after Soler; he crashed and broke his wrist on stage two. To get him into a good position was our main goal for the Giro. If he’d ridden like he did in the Tour last year then it would have been great for us. We tried hard to support him but he didn’t improve and had to quit. After that it was pretty much a case of getting through the mountains. There are still two stages where we think we can get a result, so hopefully we’ll come out of the rest day refreshed.”

I asked about Enrico Gasparotto’s disappointing Giro; “He was really flying at the Tour of Trentino and we had high hopes, but he crashed here on stage three and hasn’t been the same since. Pfannberger was the same, he was going very well in the Ardennes Classics but he had three crashes and had to go home – I was amazed he carried on so long, he was in a bad way.”

And the differences between Disco and Barloworld? “Discovery Channel was a lot more laid back, the Italians are more highly strung. They want you to do something in the race every day and that’s unrealistic. That said, it’s a team of people who work very hard for each other and you have to respect the results that have been achieved on what isn’t a huge budget.”

Steve had done his 45.27 (63rd on the stage) of hard labour for the day and it was time to jump in the Barloworld team car and head for the hotel.

We crossed the car park to where Ireland’s Phillip Deignan was warming up outside the AG2R bus, he still had to go to the office.

We asked if it was OK to chat before the warm up got too serious? “Sure, I’m not breathing too hard, yet!”

Deignan continued: “In the first week I felt very good and had ambitions of a top 30 finish, but I got sick on stage eight or nine and it’s been ‘survival’ ever since. I’m on anti-biotics and it’s getting better, but you never know how your body is going to react during a three week stage race. Sometimes you can be good one day and bad the next. There are still some hard days to come, it’ll be seven hours on the bike for that Mortirolo stage.”

And who’s going to win? “I think Contador’s the man, he hasn’t had huge results this year, but he’s obviously going very well.”

Why so many crashes? “The Giro is always like that, it’s the stress and if it rains the roads are just so slippy – but there are always a lot of crashes in the Giro.”

And a smile for the camera? “I’m not supposed to be smiling, I’m supposed to be hurting!”

But he managed a wide one for us and then rode to a very respectable 30th on the stage at 3-28 on Pello’s 40-26.

And the Giro rolls on.

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