By Tyler Hamilton, CSC-Tiscali professional cycling team
Today was another fast a furious ride riddled with crashes toward thefinish. My main objective in the past few days has been to stay far enoughin the front of the mayhem and far enough out of the way of the sprinters.It’s a bit of challenge to find that exact spot and to stay there. Butwith the help of my CSC-Tiscali comrades, especially Jimmy Madsen, I wasable to stay out of trouble in stages 3 and 4.Yesterday’s weather was manic. It was as if Mother Nature was playinga game with us. We’d go from pouring rain to bright sun. It was like ridingthrough two separate afternoons simultaneously. We didn’t really get anyrelief from the wet stuff during the stage, despite the intermittent sun.The spray from the wet roads coming off the bikes, cars and motorcyclespretty much kept us soaked regardless of what was going on in the sky.I spent almost the entire day in my rain jacket.Tonight we made a transfer from Strasbourg to Cuneo, Italy. Making atrip like a transfer during a race this size is always an epic journey.After showering at the finish, we went straight to chartered buses, whichtransported us to the airport. All 196 riders and a select number of staffmembers swarmed like groups of refugees to their appointed transports.It was organized chaos to say the least.But the scrambling on our end was probably nothing compared to what’sgoing on out on the highways. Imagine every car, truck and bus belongingto the 20 teams in the race careening at warp speed toward Italy.There’s sort of an unspoken competition that goes on among staff mechanicsand soigneurs. Getting to a feed zone, a finish line or a hotel parkinglot first suggests you may be somehow superior to the others. I think itmight be safe to say the “other giro” was probably being heavily contestedas soon as the riders boarded their buses to the airport. Anyone headingsouth on vacation tonight probably wondered what the deal was with allthe stickered vehicles flying by them.What’s being dubbed the “Euro-Giro” has finally arrived into Italy.In theory at least. There’s no action tomorrow given that it’s the firstrest day. It’s kind of unusual to have a rest day so soon and during thefirst week of a grand tour, but I’m sure everyone affiliated with the racewill enjoy taking advantage of the down time. Most of the riders will beout on the course tomorrow previewing two climbs slated just before thefinish. I was able to look at this stage a couple of times before the racestarted, and feel as though I have pretty good handle on what to expectalready. But another look can never hurt.Pearl Izumi came to my rescue for this race by way of a new rain coatthey’ve designed that keeps you dry but also breathes. It’s the first timeI’ve seen the combination of benefits in one jacket. I usually have a prettydifficult time in extreme weather so this piece may become a staple inmy cycling wardrobe. Pearl Izumi is the clothing sponsor of the Fasso Bartoloteam and a few of the folks from the home office in Colorado are on handhere at the race to support the team. I met them this morning.It was nice to see some folks from home given that I am the only Americanat this race aside from Mr. Trenti. His American mother lives in Boston.But although he has a U.S. Passport and racing license, he doesn’t speaka word of English. I found this out yesterday while trying to find outmore about him and his ties to what is virtually my hometown.In training tomorrow, I’ll be trying out one of my lightweight bikesthat I’m using here at the Giro. Everything from the wheels, to the cranks,to the chainring bolts and bottle cages are extra lightweight. The entirekit was built with climbing in mind. We had specially designed climbingbikes on U.S. Postal made by Trek as well. You wouldn’t believe what adifference it makes to have one of these super lightweight bikes on thebig climbs. Especially when you are doing mountain stages or some formof climbing day in and day out.Aside from training, riders are always interested in the latest equipmentthey think will give them an advantage. If you wanted to go completelycrazy with details, you literally could.I’ll have more later, when we get back to business.Thanks for reading.
Editor’s Note:Tyler Hamilton is sending diary entries toVeloNews.com every other day throughout the 2002 Giro d’Italia. Click belowfor his earlier entries.The Prologue: Noworse for wearStage 2: Gettingon Track