Trieste – Altopiano Carsico – (Individual Time Trial)(52km)
By Magnus Bäckstedt, Alessio-Bianchi professional cycling team
Seventh. Not too bad, not too bad at all. Even so, I may be close to the point of heading home.
I’m still feeling pretty rough today. I had a pretty good ride, but I sure didn’t feel good.
I had an early start, so I was pretty lucky with the weather this time out. It started raining towards the end, so some of the big GC boys had to do the whole thing in the rain and I had relatively dry roads the whole time. Then again, I had more wind than they did, so maybe it all comes out even.
The course itself was bloody hard. The first 18 or 19 kilometers were all uphill, and a pretty hard uphill as well. I crept up that first part … and was even caught by the guy who started behind me before I reached the top of the climb. I got him back again after we hit the top, though. The next 33km suited me quite nicely. I slipped into my 55 and then stayed in the 11 or 12 all the way home. I was feeling pretty strong as I came into the finish. Given how hard that first part was, I’m actually quite happy with seventh place.
But weather and the course were not complaints for me. Neither are my legs. But my respiratory system feels like crap. When I spoke with the doctor, he said that he could see the irritation in my throat and he said it was clear that I am having problems getting air in. I’m not riding at 100 percent of my lung capacity, that’s for sure.
So tonight we’ll sit down with the director and the team and see what we should do. For sure, I don’t want to keep on riding too much with this in my chest, because at some point I will just sort of ride it in there. If you keep riding with a chest cold like this, you have a bugger of a time eventually getting rid of it afterwards. Given that there really isn’t all that much time between the Giro and the Tour, I want to take care of this early. I want to be at the start line of the Tour de France, riding at 100 percent.
There is a chance that I may not even start in the morning, but before we make a final decision, the doctor’s going to have another look at me and then we’ll see. It depends a bit, too, on what the weather is doing. We’re supposed to get some bad weather coming in over the next couple of days and I sure don’t want to sit out there freezing for six hours on the bike with this going on in my lungs. So, we’ll see. I might find myself at a point where I have to decide to call it a day, get off my bike, go back home and prepare for the Tour properly.
It’s up in the air right now. Either way, I’ll let you know, so we’ll talk tomorrow.