Sometimes, an indirect line of questioning is the most revealing.
With that in mind, we’re catching up with each of the six Americans at the Giro d’Italia on each rest day (and at the start and finish), asking a series of innocuous questions. The goal is to paint a better picture of the mental and physical difficulties of a grand tour.
The six Americans spent Monday, an early rest day, en route from the Netherlands to southern Italy via charter flight. It was an early morning, alarm clocks set for six, and teams arrived in Italy that afternoon.
VeloNews caught up with each rider around midday, most via text message. Though they only have two road stages and a short time trial in their legs, already some of the answers have changed. We’ve added reporter’s notes next to some responses to provide a bit more context.
VeloNews: What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?
Chad Haga (Giant – Alpecin): “The Hunger Awakens.” [Haga answered via text message, and the capitalization is his. Seems pertinent, though, as if his thought is a movie title. So we left it.]
Ian Boswell (Sky): “Rest day!”
Joey Rosskopf (BMC): “T-minus five minutes to get my bag out into the hall.”
Larry Warbasse (IAM Cycling): “F—k it’s hot in here.”
Nate Brown (Cannondale): “Who the heck is calling at 6 a.m.?”
Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale): “Phone is ringing. Anti-doping? No. Why is there a 6 a.m. hotel wake-up call?!? Boswell must be responsible for this.”
VN: Describe your mood today in one word.
VN: You’re riding straight for a roundabout at the front of the field. Left or right?
Haga: “Right side. The hardest part of the corner is the left turn.” [Haga asked for clarification on this question. We clarified: No wind, equal distance around either side, he’s riding in the middle of the road.]
Boswell: “Left side. I don’t like lefthand turns. Zoolander. Blue Steel.”
Rosskopf: “Preferably right, but, most importantly, the shortest way.”
Warbasse: “Whichever way is shortest.”
Brown: “Always left, I swear it’s faster.”
Dombrowski: “Bunny-hop the middle. Then sprint so all the guys in the back can suffer with that nasty elastic!”
VN: How do your legs feel, on a scale of 1-10. Ten is good.
Haga: “Jet legs are a six.” [Down two since Friday, answered after flying.]
Boswell: “Still a 10.”
Rosskopf: “Seven.” [Down one.]
Warbasse: “Six and a half.” [Up one and a half.]
Brown: “Seven and a half. They have gone down .5 since the start. I’ll say after the rest day they will be back to eight.”
Dombrowski: “I’ll go with 10, because my brain is telling my legs we are leaving Holland.” [Down one. Dombrowski insisted he was 11/10 on Friday.]
VN: Does anything hurt?
Haga: “Bruise on my knee from crash avoidance maneuvers.”
Boswell: “I had a little pain the other day. I cut my toenail a bit short. I had an ingrown toenail last season.”
Rosskopf: “No pain currently.”
Brown: “Nope. Still no pain.”
Dombrowski: “Nope. All good.”
[None of the Americans have crashed in this Giro.]
VN: Last song that was stuck in your head? When?
Haga: “’O Fortuna,’ on the flight.”
Boswell: “’Stressed Out.’ Back to the good dope days.”
Rosskopf: “Last night, ‘Ricky Ricky Ricky can’t you see, sometimes your words just hypnotize me …’ I’m rooming with [Rick] Zabel.
Warbasse: “’It’s Raining Men,’ Every time I see Rein Taaramae’s name on his helmet.
Brown: “’Rigo Rigo Rigo.’ I have no idea who sings it, but I hear it every day on the bus.” [This is Rigoberto Uran’s song. It does indeed play every morning.]
Dombrowski: “’El Perdón.’ A little Reggaeton!”
VN: What are the first two Italian words that pop into your head?
Haga: “Cappuccino and parmigiano.”
Boswell: “Arrivederci, in ‘Inglorious Bastards’ accent, and occhio. Our Italian teammate Puccio started yelling ‘eyes’ when he first learned English. It sounded more like ice than eyes. So now I always yell ICE!
“Luke Rowe did that last year in the middle of a stage in the Dauphine last year when it started to rain. It was 80 degrees yet people must have got scared and began to lock up their wheels.” [Occhio is a way of saying ‘heads up,’ but it directly translates as ‘eye.’]
Rosskopf: “Alla spina.”
Warbasse: “Ciao bella”
Brown: “Maglia rosa. Always dreaming of pink.”
Dombrowski: “Occhio! Cazzo!”
VN: Which would you prefer right now: A hot fudge sundae or bacon cheeseburger (with avocado, if you like avocado)?
Haga: “Cheeseburger with sharp cheddar, bacon, and avocado.”
Boswell: “Still hot fudge sundae. Still sweet tooth. Maybe a salto caramal gelato to add a little Italian flair.”
Rosskopf: “Hot fudge!”
Warbasse: “You obviously still know the answer to this one.” [Warbasse is a self-proclaimed sundae connoisseur.]
Brown: “Still going with the cheeseburger. Avocado for sure. I think I eat at least one avocado a day.”
Dombrowski: “Burger, baby!” [Interestingly, Dombrowski said burger on Friday, but when he was asked again on Saturday morning, he switched to ice cream. He has apparently switched back.]
The next check-in is a full week and more than 1,000 kilometers away. This week will see the first tough mountain stage and a long time trial that Haga, in particular, has his eye on. Check back next Monday to see how the Americans have fared.