Stage 15 – Porec, Croatia- San Vendemiano (234km)
By Magnus Bäckstedt, Alessio-Bianchi professional cycling team
Well, enough is enough. I finally decided to call it a day and I’m going back home tomorrow.
I started this morning, even though I was feeling worse than I was yesterday. After about 50 kilometers, I realized that there was no getting past this chest cold and I decided to ride to the feedzone and pull out then.
It’s been more difficult mentally than physically in some ways. I really don’t like racing when I can’t put 100 percent into it. It’s just not my style. I sure didn’t like just trying to hang on and barely making it to the finish line. The last couple of days, I’ve come to the finish realizing that I have more in me still, but I haven’t been able to put that into the race, because I just haven’t gotten enough air in me.
Leaving doesn’t really offer me a sense of relief. I don’t really like pulling out of a major tour like this, but at the same time, I do believe that I’ve made the right decision to call it a day now. From here, I’ll head home, get well and then prepare for the Tour properly.
I would like to contribute, if I could, but I can’t when I am in this shape. The team is looking quite good, though. The climbers especially are doing very well. Franco Pellizotti is sitting in fifth overall, just five seconds back from Simoni, Cristian Moreni is in 11th at 3:24 and Andrea Noe’ is two more spots back at 4:00. That’s not bad, eh?
Today finished in a bunch kick and it was good to see Angelo up there. It looks as though he’s really finding his legs now. The first couple of stages, he was hoping to do the sprint, but getting way too nervous too early and spending a lot of unnecessary energy before the finish. We had a bit of a chat the other day and I talked to him about calming down a bit and just waiting for the right moment to go. I mean it is quite predictable how the sprints have been coming down. He’s well served to wait until Fassa Bortolo starts to put the hammer down and make sure that he’s in the right position. He still stands a good chance for a stage, especially if he is there in Milan.
I, for one, am a bit disappointed that I won’t be in Milan with these guys, but now I need to set my sites on getting better and getting to the Tour in good shape. So, I fly home to Wales tomorrow, spend a few days taking it easy with my family and then, on Sunday, I will be able to fly home to join my mother when she celebrates her 50th birthday, which is something I thought I would miss.
I’ve enjoyed sharing my Giro d’Italia with you and look forward to doing these during the Tour de France. In the mean time, take care and we’ll talk soon.