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’.
It was just one big mountain time trial with everyone starting at the same time
Stage 6 recap
‘Doppio Mortirolo’. A brutal, short stage involving two ascents of the Mortirolo which was once again dominated by the Columbians. This time it was Juan Diego Alba (Columbia) who won the stage to make it three stages in a row for the Columbian team. Alba’s teammate Andres Camilo Ardila retained the maglia rosa, finishing 4th on the stage.
Ethan Hayter was once again the best Brit, with 18th on the stage. He slips out of the top 10 but keeps hold of the red points jersey.
Charlie’s race diary #9
‘Two times full gas up the Mortirolo? Sounds great!’ Is what no one has ever said. Unless they were being sarcastic.
I don’t know what to say really, this stage’s profile really stood out as a savage one and it didn’t disappoint. The first descent down to the bottom of the first climb was as mad as you’d expect, but then instead of the peloton staying calm and setting a firm but relaxing tempo on the infamous mountain, it was full gas from the bottom. As far as I’m aware, the race exploded in the front end just as much as it did around where I was sat. With the gradients being so punishing, and no more than 10km of normal pedalling on the flat(ish) across the whole stage, it was just one big mountain time trial with everyone starting at the same time, so there unfortunately was not much I could do for my teammates, especially as I started the day feeling pretty lifeless, before I was spat out of the back of the peloton early on.
The day was actually pretty relaxed for me after that. Of course it was bloody hard riding up those slopes, especially after the last week of racing that we’ve had, but I found myself in a 20-strong gruppetto, and we could take our own pace to just try to get over these beasts. We even had some good times on the descents as we tried to make up some of the heaps of time we lost on the way up! The atmosphere was nice in the group, with bidons being passed around, or coke cans, or just the odd random complaint that brings some laughter too. We came together a bit.
There’s no denying that this stage took something out of the legs though. The first way we went up the Mortirolo was actually not too bad, I think we averaged just over 15 km/h for the climb, but on the way back, with an average gradient of over 12%, we rarely got out of the lowest gear and for a 75kg rider going at nearly 330W, I averaged 11km/h. It was just relentless. We survived it though! There’s nothing else like that left in this race, so it’s almost a victory today.
Tomorrow is the last chance for the big fat boys such as myself. Depending on how the race pans out, I’m hoping to chance my arm and hopefully be in with a shout of a result in the closing kilometres. Keep you updated.
Stage 7 preview
As Charlie says, stage 7 is the last chance in the race for the rouleurs and sprinters. It rolls downhill from Dimaro Folgarida to Lavis. The route then climbs to the only KOM summit in Albiano. It rolls slightly downhill to Valsugana, where the riders will begin a 17 km circuit to be covered three times, finishing in Levico Terme. The stage winner will be crossing the finishing line first the fourth time. This is one that should see the Columbian run of dominance interrupted, and there are several British riders – including Matt Walls, Jake Stewart, Ethan Hayter, Charlie Quarterman – who could fare well depending on how the stage pans out.