SAN PELLEGRINO TERMINE, Italy (VN) – Peter Stetina calmly stepped out of his pedals and sipped an energy drink after finishing the 18th stage of the Giro d’Italia. From the look of his reaction, you would have never guessed he’s just days from finishing his first grand tour, what many are calling one of the most grueling Giros ever.
“I haven’t had a bad day yet,” Stetina told VeloNews. “I am tired, but everyone is tired, and I haven’t started the downhill slide yet, so maybe I am built to do these things.”
Stetina has been rock solid throughout the Giro, providing strong support for Garmin’s GC candidate Christophe Le-Mével and hanging tough with the top climbers throughout the Giro’s most difficult climbs.
Going into Friday’s stage, Stetina is 27th overall at 41:25 back, one place ahead of 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre. Stetina is also fourth in the best young rider’s competition at 31:38 behind Roman Kreuziger.
“When I said early in the race, goal number-1 was to make it to Milan,” he said. “Barring anything grave happening, it looks like I will make it.”
Stetina said his biggest surprise is how he managed to hit his physical peak just in time for the Giro. After a strong ride at the Tour de Romandie, his father, Dale Stetina, told him to expect big things for his Giro debut.
“My dad was visiting me in Girona right after I did Romandie and he told me, ‘I don’t think you’re quite fit yet. I think you’re going to hit your stride after the first week of the Giro.’ I said, ‘BS, Dad, I am going to be on my hands and knees,’” Stetina said. “Somehow he called it without being around me all year.”
Porte: From pink jersey to domestique
Richie Porte was one of the sensations of the 2010 Giro d’Italia, riding the pink jersey into the final week and winning the young rider’s white jersey with seventh overall.
Flash forward one year and Porte is on water-bottle duty at this Giro, where he is helping teammate Alberto Contador carry the pink jersey to Milano.
“I didn’t have any personal ambitions this year because I didn’t get told I would be racing until the week before,” he told VeloNews. “Last year was an incredible experience. I thought the race was over, then I ended up in the pink jersey. It’s been great to come here and ride with Alberto. What a fantastic guy to ride for to see how he rides grand tours.”
Porte says he’s been paying close attention to Contador during his run in pink.
“It’s a good ambiance at the dinner table. We got the jersey a little bit earlier than we expected, but we’re ready to fight all the way to the Milano. We’ve all been working 100 percent for Alberto since the start.”
“The thing you don’t see in Alberto is that he’s a great guy off the bike. Maybe in the English-speaking media, he gets a bit of a rough ride, but he’s a very generous guy. You never see him turn an autograph away. He’s a great guy to ride for.”
62km: Olivier Kaisen (Omega Pharma-Lotto) suffered cuts to right elbow, forearm and right thigh after crashing
Nothing to report – nulla de segnalare