Just when you think things can’t get any worse, down comes the snow. Last week I bemoaned the atrocious weather at the Giro d’Italia but it seems I had only witnessed a prelude to the mayhem that was to come.
Bike racing revels in adversity but the past three weeks in Italy have bordered on farce. I’ve never known riders having to endure such cold and wet conditions for quite so long, prompting Fabian Cancellara to tweet: “This is not healthy and has nothing to do with sport.”
Italy’s worst spring for 25 years affected the four biggest mountain stages. Three were cut short and one cancelled due to snow, ice and avalanches.
Only the summit finish of Saturday’s penultimate stage could be salvaged, with windchill temperatures expected to drop to minus 20 degrees.
As Mark Cavendish tweeted: “I remember waking up excited to see snow. Then I became a cyclist. Now I wake up to snow and have to see if I’m excited or not.”
With five stage wins and the red jersey, this most difficult Giro has been Cav’s most successful yet.
After his top 10 finish in the snow-hit Milan-San Remo at the start of this season, it further endorses the Manxman’s reputation for gutsy riding.
And he’s climbing better than ever, too – even in the snow. Mark Cavendish is going to be a very tough man to beat in this year’s Tour de France.
This article was first published in the May 30 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!