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Giro d'Italia

US pro roundtable: differences of racing Giro d’Italia in October, and favorite Italian meals

Joe Dombrowski and Larry Warbasse share their favorite indulgences during the Giro d'Italia.

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The Giro d’Italia is in full-swing, and for the next three weeks, we will be covering every angle of the Italian race here on As an added bonus, there are eight American riders racing the Giro d’Italia, and they have lent us their expert perspective to help shed light on the event and all of its glorious trappings.

We have questions about the Giro, and our pro riders have the answers. So, every day throughout the Giro we will roll out a new Pro Roundtable, with expert perspective from two pro riders and one VeloNews editor. Today, the questions focus on what the difference is racing in October instead of May, and what their favorite food is during the Giro d’Italia. 

What is the biggest difference you expect between the Giro in October and May?

Joe Dombrowski: Everyone is talking about stages like the Stelvio being canceled due to the weather, but I don’t really know about that. We can have some pretty bad weather in the mountains in May as well. For me, it is a toss-up. I guess the big difference is that in May, the weather is supposed to be getting better, while in October it tends to be getting worse. And then the fact, like I said, that we really have any references regarding our preparation. Again I haven’t done much racing this year. And then in a month, my season will be essentially over. It’s funny because in some ways it feels like the season is just starting, but then at the same time, it is almost over. I think you just have to focus on the day-to-day. If you start focusing on all the things that could derail, then you will just lose focus.

Larry Warbasse: All these people are freaking about it that once we’re in the north that it’s going to be a blizzard every day. There are only three days over 1,200m [elevation] once we are in the north, so it really could not be an issue. If the weather turns bad, they will have a Plan B. If those three days will get altered, it could change the GC quite a bit. There are monster days with 5,000m of vertical climbing. There’s always bad weather in May as well. With this Giro, it’s going to be a question of luck with the weather. If there’s one bad day with weather, that would not be so different than if it were held in May.

Jim Cotton, European reporter: The weather worsening through the race is the main thing, with the high mountains falling right at the end of October rather than late May. I really hope that those epic days to the Stelvio and Agnello go ahead as these guys are going to be racing through huge snowbanks, which for us guys sat on our sofas, makes for spectacular viewing. Also, a lot of riders will have made the Giro their A-1 priority for the season given it’s impossible to also race the Vuelta in 2020, and all-but undoable to have raced the Tour and then start the Giro two weeks afterward. So a lot of riders will be going into this as almost their one-and-only shot at a big result for the year, which might impact how aggressive the racing is.

What is your favorite Italian dish?

Joe Dombrowski: I do love a good pizza. Typically I go for that. My favorite is a pizza with tomato sauce, Bufala mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, and rocket salad. That with some red wine and a bit of tiramisu for dessert and I will be fine. If I want to get adventurous I might get a white pizza with truffles but most of the time not. But the Italians just do food so well. So much of it is so simple but so good. And every Italian teammate I have had knows exactly what accompanies what when it comes to food. It is just ingrained.

Larry Warbasse: I’m a real foodie, and I love Italian food. I lived in Tuscany during my first year as a pro, so I had a great introduction to Italian food. We have a team chef during the Giro, and sometimes I am more envious of what the staff is eating. They roll out these nice plates of risotto or a pizza, and we are fed standard racing fare. I might sneak out for a gelato on the rest days. Since I live close to Italy, I will head over the border sometimes for a nice meal and some real coffee.

Jim Cotton: Italian food is my absolute favorite. Out of pasta and pizza, it has to be a pizza with really good cured ham. Though the salty smack of pasta puttanesca (with olives and anchovies) is a real winner after a super-sweaty ride. And an affogato for dessert. Oh, and did we mention how awesome risotto is? I could go on all day.