An individual time trial Saturday followed by a mountain summit finish Sunday will be critical steps in the fight for the overall podium in the Giro d'Italia.
What has been a tranquil second week of the 2020 Giro d’Italia for the general classification contenders is about to change as the race heads into a key weekend. Stages 14 and 15 will be the first big test to those with GC ambitions, including Vincenzo Nibali, who currently sits in fifth overall, a position he has held since Stage 5.
Vincenzo Nibali talked extensively about the upcoming weekend and gave his opinion on the status of the Giro after it presented a handful of positive COVID-19 cases in various teams.
ON THE RACE:
In the last few days, the team has suffered a little bit from the difficult days we had. Ciccone, whose preparation was affected by Covid in early September, is still working to find his best condition. Brambilla has a sore knee due to the crash on the Vieste stage, and the rest of the team is giving me support in the early part of the stages to keep me covered and not let me take risks. Now we have a time trial where my teammates will be able to save some energy, and then we have an important stage to Piancavallo, followed by a rest day which will be useful to take stock of the situation.
The time trial in Palermo was complicated because of the well-known reason of wind, but tomorrow’s time trial in Valdobbiadene will be very different. Difficult to say now if I can gain on Almeida’s pink jersey or defend myself. So far, he is defending very well, he has a solid team supporting him, and we know how much Deceuninck is working well on the time trial races. I expect him to do a good race tomorrow and the same for Kelderman, who I see the most brilliant of all in the group.
We have an important weekend ahead of us, and the balance should be altered after Sunday. A time trial like tomorrow’s requires to do it to the maximum of your strength. I could lose something compared to the specialists, but the next day, with a hard climb like Piancavallo, the intense effort could also remain in someone’s legs.
As Trek-Segafredo, we are experiencing the current situation at the Giro with relative tranquility. Of course, questions are on the table; we are still living in an extraordinary and potentially dangerous situation all over the world, not just here, and I think that the bubble system at the Giro is working. The imperative, on our part, is to stick to the rules as strictly as possible.
I have read several complaints about promiscuity in hotels with other guests. There are teams, for example, who have long since solved the problem with restaurant trucks. We don’t have one, but I can say that we have always had a dedicated and protected space for dinner in the restaurant and never found ourselves in insecure conditions.
There are several organizations that are taking care of the management of this situation, first of all, the organization of the Giro. I believe that if, as in this moment, there are the correct conditions to race, it is right that we do so. We must not forget that the Giro is a heritage for all cycling. Before stopping it, I would think twice. Finally, everything depends also on the directives of the Italian government. That is the body that more than anyone else can decide whether to make us run or not.
One thing that I noticed on the climbs, which is good to emphasize, is that some fans did not wear masks. I renew my invitation to all those who will follow from the side of the road to always wear it, for their own good and especially for ours.