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Inside the Baby Giro: Charlie Quarterman’s race diary #4

Charlie endures the heat and looks forward to tomorrow's 'strade bianche' stage, as Matt Walls continues Great Britain's winning streak

Holdsworth-Zappi rider Charlie Quarterman, one of our U23 riders to watch this season, is one of a host of British riders riding the Giro d’Italia Ciclista, this U23 version of the Giro. He is keeping a race diary for The British Continental throughout the ‘Baby Giro’.

I did nudge over 80km/h on a technical descent but that was tranquilo compared to the peloton

Stage 2 recap

Different type of finish, same result. Great Britain’s Ethan Hayter won the prologue time trial and stage 1 from a late break. Today the stage came down to a bunch sprint, yet Great Britain took the win once again. This time it was the turn of another of our U23 riders to watch, Matt Walls, who was brilliantly led out by the maglia rosa.

Matt Walls wins stage 2, as maglia rosa Hayter celebrates behind. Photo: Giro d’Italia U23

Behind Walls, Hayter and Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ Continental) both finished in the top 10. Hayter retains both the overall and points competition leads, whilst Stewart remains leader of the youth classification. Charlie Quarterman finished in the main bunch, but the wrong side of a time split, meaning he slips out of the top 10 overall.

Unfortunately both Rhys Britton (concussion) and Adam Hartley did not finish the stage.

Charlie’s race diary #4

If yesterday’s stage was a rather tough one mentally, today’s was very much down the other end of things: very physical. Although several big crashes made it stressful too. Okay, today was both physically and mentally challenging. 

The two long climbs in the first 50 km were raced fairly hard. Although there were no big fireworks, it took a lot of effort from a 75kg rider like myself to stay in the front end of the peloton and avoid the frantic chase back on after. The rest of the stage was relatively straight forward though, even if the stage was made 20 km longer to go round a closed road. It felt like a long, dragging day out for all of us, so, especially after a big crash 10km from the line, it was a day we were all happy to get to the end of in one piece and without big time gaps. The big teams slowly reeling in the day’s break of only a couple of riders just helped everyone keep their cool for most of the day, but the long time on the bike and in the heat does simply take its toll.

Charlie tackles one the ascents. Photo: Andrew Peat / espoirs.world

I did have a rather scary mechanical problem however, which will go down as one of the mad little giro stories for me. At the top of the second and final big climb of the day, I felt my bars suddenly come a bit loose in a strange way. It was only when I got out of the saddle that things were moving around so much, and with the team car a long way back pacing on my teammate after a puncture, I decided to just try to descend relatively slowly and carefully. I did nudge over 80km/h on a technical descent but that was tranquilo compared to the peloton. When we got to the flat roads at the bottom, I went back to the car with what I thought was a loose headset, only to find the steerer tube had almost snapped! It’s mad to think I got down that mountain with such a dangerous situation and with no idea! But we live to fight another day. One of those stories.

Anyway, time to stretch out the legs that are starting to tire a bit as tomorrow we have the ‘Strade Bianche’ day, which, although you never know what will happen in this sort of stage, has been a target for me for a while. Ever since I took 16th in the Strade Bianche di Romagna (after a few mis-timed punctures) in March, I’ve been keeping an eye on this. I’ll at least chance my arm, and all we can do is hope that favour swings in my direction! 

Ciao. 

Stage 3 preview

The ‘strade bianchi’ stage! 145 km from Sesto Fiorentino to Gaiole In Chianti, this stage will be marked by the white gravel roads made famous by the Strade Bianche. A hilly stage on winding roads, the route features 5 gravel sectors in the last 40 km, with the end of the final sector just 8 km from the finish line.

This is the kind of day where luck will play its part, and many a GC contender will be hoping they can limit their losses. Once again there are a string of British riders that could do well on terrain like this. Hayter is an obvious pick given his form – and he could well extend his lead over some of the other GC contenders – but also watch out for Stewart, Quarterman, Fred Wright and Rob Scott, who can also excel on terrain like this.

Read more

Charlie Quarterman’s race diary #3

Charlie Quarterman’s race diary #2

Charlie Quarterman’s race diary #1

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