May 10, 2005 — We are three days into the Giro and the race has been pretty chill so far with a couple of bunch sprints and the Prologue which was a 1km time trial. This is the first time our team has competed at the Giro so it’s a new experience for most of us other than our team leaders Paolo Savodelli and Vladamir Bileka. Bileka rode the Giro alongside his good friend Yaroslav Popovych (with Landbouwcredit) before coming to Discovery this year and Paolo won the Giro a few years ago with Alessio. Pavel Padrnos, a key member of Lance’s Tour team for the last three years, is now back with his old leader Paolo Savoldelli on the roads of Italy. The two rode together at Saeco before Pavel joined US Postal in 2002.
At the Giro the stages start out fairly slow and we cruise along at a comfortable pace with everyone chatting and spinning their legs. The racing is noticeably different from the Vuelta d’Espana or the Tour as those races tend to go from the gun and only ease up a little when a break is established off the front. At the Giro we cruise along, a few guys might jump away but the peloton is never too active during the first couple of hours. But, once the helicopters show up and the race goes “live” for television the pace starts to pick up and we fly towards the finish.
The Discovery Team we have here is good with riders that are solid in the time trials and comfortable in the mountains. We will all be racing for Paolo and trying to get him to Milan in pink. Tom Danielson should shine in the mountains and is extremely motivated to test his legs against some of the best climbers in the world.
The crowds at the Giro are far larger than at the Vuelta and also more intense. As we go through the towns there are pink flags hanging in the streets, people throw confetti on us, and at least 50% of the people are dressed in pink for the event.
Tonight I am rooming with fellow Canuck, Ryder Hesjedal. He’s really motivated to do well at the Giro and started things off with a great top twenty in the short 1 km time trial Prologue. It is definitely nice having another Canadian to room and race with.
We have a few more days of massive sprint finishes and then we hit the hills and more time trials. Until then we will simply save our energy and make sure we keep Paolo in good position so that he doesn’t lose any time or waste any energy. Once our work is done each day we ease off the pedals and save our legs for the days ahead.