The Giro peloton en route from Modena to Fano during stage 5.
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Cooler, showery weather as race starts to head north
The Giro d’Italia starts its long trek north through Italy today (Monday) with a radical change not just in the terrain – from constantly undulating and mountain terrain to flat – but also in terms of the weather.
When the peloton looked out their hotel windows just outside Naples this morning they saw they could look forward to a mix of heavy rain showers, low cloud, a drop of about ten degrees and blustery winds for this afternoon’s stage. Lovely.
What effect does this have on the riders? Psychologically, it’s not a crowd pleaser in anyone’s book, even if it is a shorter, and far flatter stage today – 166kms as opposed to 229 kilometres for Saturday and 210 kilometres for Friday.
“The change from hot weather to cold is never ideal for morale and can make riders perceive stages as being longer and harder. Also the bike handles differently too in these different conditions, so that’s another change,” Garmin-Barracuda physical therapies co-ordinator and chiropractor Matt Rabin told Cyclingnews.
“Physically as well, muscles tend to get tighter, quicker, and you can become more prone to aches and pains in the colder weather.”
“If it’s 30 degrees or more, you get warmed up straightaway when you start riding. But in the cold it can take that little bit longer.”
With natural defenses dropping steadily as the race continues, although it’s important to eat well in the colder weather, “riders will start to want to eat less, it’s a natural reaction as the accumulated stress and fatigue of eight to ten days hard racing start to kick in, so we have to watch how much they’re eating.
“We have a chef” – not always the case even for WorldTour teams – “and he’ll keep on varying the food as much as he can to try and ensure the menus are different and more appetising like that. If a rider is off his food, then he can try to direct
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