Giro d'Italia

Pro roundtable: Measuring the best and worst days so far in Giro d’Italia

Joey Rosskopf and Brandon McNulty share their highlights and low points from the opening half of the 2020 Giro d'Italia.

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The 2020 Giro d’Italia is in full-swing, and for the next several weeks, we will be covering every angle of the Italian race here on velonews.com. As an added bonus, eight American riders started the Giro, 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’s been the best and hardest days so far in the 2020 Giro.

What’s been your best day so far in the 2020 Giro?

Joey Rosskopf: I was most satisfied with the day that I was getting in the break, that was stage 8. It didn’t line up perfectly because that day I didn’t quite have my best legs. Actually, a few days earlier the legs were feeling better, but that’s just how it plays it. You have to take the opportunities as they come. After a big fight to get into the break on stage 8, it was my luck to be in the move that day. It didn’t work out for the stage win [Rosskopf was fourth], but just to be in there for the win at the end of the stage, that was the most satisfying.

Brandon McNulty: I haven’t had any results that stand out so far [note — question was presented before stage 10 in which McNulty finished second], but it’s more about the execution and getting through each day. That’s what this Giro is all about for me, to learn about racing a grand tour, to remain concentrated in the right moments. I’ve been able to be up there with the best guys a few days and have a decent kick in the end. I felt good on Mount Etna [stage 3], and maybe I felt a little too good. I got too excited and tried to attack too early.

Andrew Hood: Who’s had the best day so far in this Giro? With the GC still tightly wound up, we haven’t seen that great, stand-out performance yet that will make or break the race. There have been several impressive individual performances in the first half of this Giro. Arnaud Démare is untouchable in the sprints, and Peter Sagan got his big win Tuesday. And what about João Almeida? Even he’s admitting he likely won’t win the Giro, but winning a grand tour is also about being consistent over three weeks. And of the GC favorites, he has been as consistent as he can be.

What’s been your most challenging day so far in the Giro?

Joey Rosskopf: As a result of that breakaway effort, the most challenging was the day after in stage 9. The break didn’t go for a long time, and the pace was really high. After an hour and a half, I was not at the front of the race. After the big effort the day before, I was trying to support our team to get someone in a break. After 70km, we hit the climbs and the break still hadn’t gone away, and the race started to blow apart. I was in survival mode at that point, but in the end, it came back together and I could finish OK. The cold at the end of the stage on Sunday wasn’t easy, and that might be a preview of what’s come to. If that’s the hardest day to get through, it might be a blessing, because it wasn’t too bad.

Brandon McNulty: On that second hard day [stage 5], the legs were pretty bad that day. I was just dogging along and I was really not feeling good at all that day. I think it was the fatigue was starting to set in. Once we hit that final climb, I was just trying to limit my losses. And then on stage 9, I really didn’t feel good at all, and I thought I was really bad, then with 35km to go, my legs opened up. It was like there was a switch, and I was good again. So that day was kind of the best day and worst day all in one.

Andrew Hood: There are always a few heart-break performances in any grand tour, even in the first week. Geraint Thomas leaving the race with injury, and Simon Yates’ early exit due to COVID-19. Losing Steven Kruijswijk, also to COVID-19, and his Jumbo-Visma team mean that the Giro has lost three of its pre-race top-5 GC favorites. Will this Giro have an asterisk? It depends if the race is cut short or if the stages in northern Italy are blown out by bad weather. The Giro vows to push on to Milano.