LAVAGNA, Italy (VN) — Just call it the Richie-Mobile.
Giro d’Italia favorite Richie Porte (Sky) will be getting a good night’s sleep during his run for the pink jersey. Or at least he hopes so. Marginal gains can sometimes be had during the night as well.
In a first among the elite peloton, Team Sky has brought along a super-sized mobile home for Porte to sleep in every night. It’s not that Italian hotels are bad — the team just wants to give Porte the best possible rest each night as he targets a run at the pink jersey.
“He’s got it through the Giro. It’s the first time we’ve used it, so that he can have the same bed and surroundings every night,” a Sky team spokesman told VeloNews contributor Gregor Brown on Sunday.
“The benefit is the familiarity. They studied the impact of different hotels every day for three weeks in a grand tour, looking to try to lessen the stress. It’s a continuation of marginal gains.”
Porte’s mobile home will be parked outside the Team Sky hotel each night. The team has brought along a driver to shift the large, gray-and-black RV from hotel to hotel. Officials are hopeful it will give the Tasmanian more restful and comfortable nights during the three-week slog of the Giro.
The RV has full facilities, including a TV, toilet, and kitchen, but Porte will only be sleeping there. He will still share meals and other activities with his Sky teammates inside each night’s hotel.
Sky riders had already been using their own pillows and mattresses over the past few seasons, in part to help take away the discomfort and sleepless nights that sometimes accompany weeks on the road, in a different hotel every night.
Perhaps it’s a natural evolution for the UK-based team, which is always looking for competitive edges in unconventional places.
Sky has made a name for itself under the banner of “marginal gains,” be it aerodynamic bodysuits, high-altitude training camps, or post-stage cool downs on rollers.
Inspired by other athletes who sleep in motorhomes while on the road for weeks and months at a time, such as Moto GP or skiers — American Bodie Miller slept in his own camper van while hitting the World Cup circuit during his heyday — Sky is testing out the concept at this year’s Giro with Porte. If it works out well, Chris Froome might be sleeping in a van this July at the Tour de France as well.
Will the “Richie-Mobile” give Porte an extra edge? Who knows? But at least he won’t have to worry about snoring teammates anymore.