Mattias Skjelmose’s Giro diary – An everyday challenge

Where to start? I’ve been through a lot. If we start at Etna, I had a really bad day. I was saved by Bauke to minimise the time loss and keep the GC dream alive. I found out after this that it was probably some allergy problems I was suffering with. I slowly started to get a better feeling and then on Stage 7 I was feeling really, really good. I felt like I could choose which breakaway I wanted to join.

Mattias and Bauke Mollema on Etna, stage 4 (©SprintCycling)

After Etna it helped a lot to have Juanpe in the pink jersey. Even though I had a big personal disappointment, the Team had a really good atmosphere around everything which brought my own mood up again. From there, I set new goals for myself and, on stage 7, I looked for my first breakaway, but without luck. I was covering the moves but then I had quite a bad crash on the downhill after the first climb which took away the good feeling. It sucks a bit when you find the good feeling and then lose it, especially if it’s not your fault.

Supporting the Maglia Rosa Juanpe Lopez (©SprintCycling)

Having Juanpe in the pink jersey also kept me fighting every day, even the days when I didn’t feel good. The day after, stage 8 in Napoli, I found myself in the break without meaning to be there. Maybe it was good for the morale; I was suffering out there but I enjoyed it. Even though I was on the wheel the whole time, you still pay the price for being out front, and I felt that the next day. I found some power on the Blockhaus stage and was trying to keep Juanpe and Cicco out of trouble on the first downhill. Unfortunately Cicco had a really bad day on the Blockhaus and I stayed with him, but that’s part of it. For me, it was a weird feeling because what I did with Cicco on that day was similar to what Bauke did for me on Etna so I could put myself in his shoes and understand how much we was suffering at that moment. I think having Juanpe in the pink jersey has also helped Cicco lift himself back up for the rest of the race.

Mattias in the breakaway in Napoli's stage (©SprintCycling)

I learn a lot of things every day. The biggest thing is that you can feel really good on some days, but can lose that feeling just as quickly as it arrived. Another thing I have learnt is that even though you have prepared everything perfectly, some things are beyond your control. A lot of things can go wrong – someone else’s mistake, being in the wrong place at the wrong moment, and crashes happen. This can take your dreams away, and even though it sucks, it’s part of cycling. As I said in the last diary, the only thing you can do is to keep fighting even if you feel shit, and hope that some better days will come. That’s what I’m hoping for now.

My goal from here is to join a breakaway that reaches the finish, to have the fight for a stage. For me, it remains a big goal just to complete the Giro. I’m looking forward to seeing how long Juanpe can hold on to the pink jersey. I’ll do everything I can to help him get as far as he can. Finally, I’d like to do a good time trial in Verona. It’s a bit hilly and most of the guys who are good at this are racing for the GC and maybe they’ll be more tired because of that.