What's Cool In Road Cycling

Giro First Week

Rik Verbrugghe: “With an aggressive team like ours, we demonstrate that we can take the road”

The Giro d’Italia spent the first of its two rest days for the three week race today. Under the hot sun (27°) of the Marche, the IAM Cycling riders have made their recovery efforts the high priority of the day after an intense and fatiguing first week, the result largely of the maneuvers and machinations of the Astana, Saxo-Tinkoff and Sky teams. An hour long training ride with a dip in the water for some was the order of the day, while others had a little recovery shopping to kill time before the daily massage.

Rik Verbrugghe, one of the sports managers of the team along with Serge Beucherie, came to visit with the riders and staff, and was quick to point to the tactics devised by the teams for Alberto Contador, Richie Porte and Fabio Aru as the main reason why this Giro has been so tough. “There was a nervousness in the first stage. And the pace was really impressive. In fact, the favorite teams seem to want to take the pink jersey as soon as possible rather than chase it later. For this reason, the racing was more animated than in previous editions.”

Ahead of following the race for a few days in the car with Kjell Carlström, one of the directeurs sportifs along with Thierry Marichal, Rik Verbrugghe also noted the overall good work that his riders have done this past week. “We were well on our way in this Giro, with a good 6th place in the team time trial. But then the next day we paid a high price for the nervousness in the pack, with bad crashes for Pelucchi, Haussler and the others. After two difficult days, the guys got their groove back. Sylvain Chavanel (2nd at Abetone), Matteo Pelucchi (2nd at Castiglione della Pescaia) and Sébastien Reichenbach (3rd at Campitello Matese) all succeeded in flying the IAM Cycling colors well. With an aggressive team like this, we have shown that we can take the road, and I am confident that we can still go for a stage win. For me, there are great opportunities to aim for before we hit the finish line in Milan on May 31st. Though a victory is not mandatory, it is among the goals we set before the start of the Giro. We will do everything we can to meet this challenge with a united front and motivated group.”

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