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 pushed to the limit today, maybe even beyond
Stage 7 recap
Today was the last chance for the sprinters and the ‘big fat boys’ (as Charlie himself put it in yesterday’s entry). He declared his intention to ‘chance his arm’ and made good on his promise.
A break of 5 made it clear today, including Great Britain’s Fred Wright. Charlie daringly bridged across to the break towards and even attacked his companions in the closing kilometres. But it was Wright who countered and took a fine win, as Charlie held on for 3rd.
Charlie’s race diary #10
What a day!
With everyone really starting to tire now, and a profile plus finish circuit that suited me down to the ground, I really targeted this stage. It was a nice rolling day with a handful of energy-sapping climbs to hurt the big boys who are even larger than myself, finished off with a tight, relatively technical circuit and the threat of showers in the final part of the race. Perfection.
We heard rumours of some of the Italian teams doing long warm-ups motorpacing along the main roads, and saw lots of riders moving around nervously, so we were ready and waiting for the rapid start. The first 50km were more or less downhill, so we averaged over 50km/h as half of the peloton tried to be in the day’s breakaway. This is because the stage had been tipped as one for the break from a long way off. The following two climbs were also taken at nearly full gas as we shelled some riders out the back, and eventually a break was formed with 5 riders. The situation then calmed for a while, but with the stage being relatively short, this stability didn’t last for long, especially as we hit the finishing circuits.
Although I had woken up with tired legs and just general tiredness being incredibly high, the body woke up once I got a couple of coffees down me, so having been unlucky to miss the day’s break, I felt good in the peloton and ready to pounce.
I made an attack on a flat, straight bit of road, trying to bridge solo to the group of 5 riders
At 40km to go, I had seen how the circuit was, and that the break seemed strong enough to hold the chasing peloton well, so I made a strange, almost stupid move. Just as the Groupama FDJ Conti team took to the front of the peloton, I made an attack on a flat, straight bit of road, trying to bridge solo to the group of 5 riders that were 1 minute 20 seconds ahead of us. Crazy, I know. It took a good 22km to actually get across to them after a gruelling TT effort, and a bit of a stall in no-man’s land, but with 18km remaining I made the bridge.
The peloton was now 55 seconds behind, but the group had a lot of life left in it, so we worked fast and efficiently, all the way to 4km to go. With a slight hesitation in the group I attacked over an incline, before Fred countered over the top of me. Looking back, there was nothing I could do. He accelerated away from me and a strong Dutchman, and made it look easy, even if we cooperated behind and gave it our all. He rode away and then I was rolled by one of my breakaway companions, while the others who I had bridged across to all got caught before the line.
Phew. What a day! It’s so nice to be a protagonist in this sort of race, especially when such a crazy move like this works! Even if it’s not the win I was chasing, I am absolutely delighted.
Anyway, with two days to go, I am worried. I went so deep in the final today, I don’t know how I will wake up in the morning, as I am well and truly knackered now. 8 stages completed and I pushed to the limit today, maybe even beyond. Hopefully all will be recovered for the next instalment of suffering.
Stage 8 preview
Back into the mountains tomorrow with the third summit finish of the race. The route starts in Rosà, from the Ursus factory. The first part of the stage is uncomplicated, wide asphalt roads. The first proper challenge of the day is an 8 km up to the Cereda Pass, at 1361 m high. It is an 8-km first category climb. The final climb to Falcade is fairly easy up to Cencenighe Agordino, then becomes more challenging. Hard not to see past the Columbians once again, although a breakaway might be well be given some rope.