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Giro d'Italia

US Pro Roundtable: Why the final week of the Giro d’Italia is so decisive

Larry Warbasse and Brandon McNulty share their insight into what lies ahead in the final week of the Giro d'Italia.

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The Giro d’Italia is in full-swing, and we have been covering every angle of the Italian race here on velonews.com. As an added bonus, there are five of the eight American riders still in the Giro d’Italia, and they have been lending 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.

How are your legs holding up after more than two weeks of racing?

Brandon McNulty: They’re definitely tired, especially after stage 15. After some massage, they are feeling good, so hopefully, after a bit of rest, they can come back for one last push. The best day was the TT, for sure. And the worst day was probably stage 15. [Wednesday] was good, but very hard. The fatigue is definitely starting build and I’m feeling tired. I expect another long and incredibly hard day Thursday, and my goal is just to finish as fast as I can and continue to fight to the end.

Larry Warbasse: Decent. I started the second week pretty average but felt better by the end. The worst day? Honestly, I can’t even remember the days anymore, haha. Oh wait. The day Narvaez one was one of my worst days on the bike ever [stage 12]. I don’t know if I’ve shivered that much for that long in my life!

James Startt: Who’s legs looked good after two weeks? No one really, save perhaps the current race maglia rosa João Almeida. Until now, no one has shown anything that poses a threat to his pink shirt. He is riding the race of his life and has not lost this year’s Giro yet. All of the biggest pre-race favorites, including Vincenzo Nibali, appear flat, and while Wilco Kelderman and his Sunweb team appear to be the most consistent, they have yet to pack sufficient punch to take out Almeida. That could all change Thursday on the epic stage over the Stelvio. But it if doesn’t crack, I think that Almeida will very likely win this year’s Giro.

Can you describe why the third week is so hard and decisive in a grand tour?

Brandon McNulty: I think you can see it even from the outside. Three weeks of racing is such a long time. I’ve ridden close to 70 hours since the race started already, and that is a lot of riding. The fatigue is super high at this point. I’m a bit terrified, I think. There are some nasty days. There’s still the possibility of the weather not cooperating, so I don’t know – you never know what will happen. As of now, it’s going to be quite hard in the final week.

Larry Warbasse: Everyone is at their wits’ end, their total limit. The guys who still have some legs can really make a difference. The week ahead? Hard. Suffering. And hopefully some breakaways.

James Startt: Well, because it is the third week. That’s why the Tour, Giro, and Vuelta are grand tours; they take the fatigue factor to an entirely different level. Professional cyclists are accustomed to racing one-week stage races, and many can continue at that level into a second week. But a third week always holds surprises. And then the third week in the Giro is always relentless as race organizers have a penchant for combining one long mountain stage after another.