The U23 Giro d’Italia begins tomorrow in Riccione, Rimini, on the east coast of the Italian mainland, and features perhaps the toughest parcours in the race’s history.
Holdsworth-Zappi rider Charlie Quarterman, one of our U23 riders to watch this season, is one of a host of British riders who will take to the start. He will take us inside the race with a daily diary throughout. In this first entry, he talks about his race prep and his hopes and expectations for the race.
First though, here is an overview of the race…
From the 13th to 23rd June, the race will take in 10 stages in one of the toughest editions of the race ever held.
The race is one of the biggest stage races on the U23 calendar, arguably second only to the Tour de L’Avenir, and is an important ‘shop window’ for World Tour teams eager to identify potential talents for the future. Last year Stevie William’s stage 7 victory and 5th place overall helped to propel him to his World Tour contract with Bahrain-Merida. Mark Donovan (Team Wiggins) meanwhile, finished 4th overall in his first season as an U23, a result which no doubt encouraged Team Sky to give him a stagiaire place in 2018.
The race will have more British representation than ever. Three British teams will take to the start: Team Wiggins Le Col, Holdsworth Zappi and Great Britain. Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ Continental) and Adam Hartley (SEG Racing) are also on the start list. Mark Donovan told us in an interview earlier this year that winning the U23 Giro is one of his
It’s a tough route, perhaps the toughest ever. After a flat, short prologue, there is a barely a flat stage. Only stages 1, 2 and 7 offer some hope for the sprinters, but even those stages have lumps and bumps that will work against potential sprint finishes. The race will feature 4 summit finishes. But it is the short, sharp stage 6 that is perhaps the most terrifying of them all: a double helping of the Mortirolo is not for the faint-hearted!
All we can do is turn up in the best condition possible and be prepared to give everything we have
Charlie Quarterman’s race diary #1
How has the preparation been? Well, it’s been long! The Zappi Racing team took on the Giro last year and we found out about our entry being accepted back in January, so we’ve been looking towards these stages for a long time and doing long, hard training-blocks in preparation. The last two months were where the real work has been done though.
My teammates have been up at altitude while I took some time back home to recharge, do some exams, and really work on the fitness that we hope will bring success over the next two weeks! To help my chances in the 3.5km prologue along the seafront in Riccione, I also went over to Drag2Zero to optimise my position on the TT bike and try out several things in their new wind tunnel, so it’ll certainly be interesting to see how things end up there.
Now that we’re into the final hours before the prologue kicks off, I think we’re all quietly confident due to all the focus on diet, lifestyle, and training that we’ve had over the last 6 months. We know that it’ll help when the moment comes, although, as always before this sort of race, there is a worry that I or we will be just below the bar. You never know until the day! All we can do is turn up in the best condition possible and be prepared to give everything we have.
Thinking about what we can expect from the 10 stages of the Giro, it is obviously hard to say. For me, because I’m on the heavy end of things in the big book of riders in Italian races, the prologue and the first few stages are my target, where I can hopefully make an impact on the flat and on the short climbs. I’ll then be on duty for my teammates targeting the GC, trying to guide them into the bottom of the big mountains.
But above all, we all can’t wait to get going! It’s obviously a massive highlight of the year, and even of a career for some people, so it is set to be an incredible 10 days! Ciao.
Tomorrow’s stage: prologue
The race kicks off in Riccione tomorrow with a 3.3km flat prologue. This will a key target for Charlie. Also look out for Great Britain riders like Ethan Hayter and Fred Wright, whose track pursuit skills should make them well-suited to this kind of effort.
Featured photo: Alex Reed. Charlie Quarterman at the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic, 28 April 2019