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"I ate more than usual to try and keep some heat in my body and also forced myself to drink tea on the road.  But none of this was enough.  And in the end, I couldn’t even feel my hands on the brakes."

Photo: IAM Cycling








16.03.2015 @ 19:13 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The riders of the Tirreno-Adriatico yet again experienced an apocalyptic day on the Italian roads leading to the banks of theTyrrhenian Sea.  After having endured serious snow accumulations on Sunday’s final climb to Terminillo, icy rain accompanied the riders on their 210 kilometer jaunt to Porto Sant'Elpidio.  But despite it all, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) succeeded in winning the sprint ahead of a pack reduced to a handful of hard road warriors who managed to get through the day with a 41km/h average speed. 

IAM Cycling again paid a heavy price in these atrocious conditions.  After suffering through a fever for two days, Stef Clement returned home before taking the start of the stage.  And then during the day, Aleksejs Saramotins and then Pirmin Lang, both frozen to the bone, dismounted and climbed into the team car, ending their stages of the cross.  


The doctors on hand have been able to account for the high degree of abandons due to illness, whether fever or digestive problems.  Since the riders are not yet generally in top form, they are more vulnerable to outbreaks of the flu, which is indeed more virulent this year, particularly when faced with racing long hours in terrible weather.  In addition to that, many of them have come from racing in very hot temperatures, like the 45 degrees centigrade many of them faced in Oman.  But since their return to Europe, they have been racing in 4 or 5 degree situations, as in Belgium, or even snow and icy rain in Italy.

Already weakened by a crash he suffered two days ago, Pirmin Lang climbed into the IAM Cycling bus shivering to the core.  After a shower and something hot to drink, the Swiss German explained his reasons for abandoning. 


“In spite of all my best efforts, I was not able to deal with the cold in the final circuit.  It was raining from the start of the stage, and when we crossed the summit of the first climb, the thermometer had dipped to just 5 degrees.  I fought hard so that I wouldn’t lose out because of the cold, but it was just impossible.  I changed my gloves three times.  Then I changed my rain jacket.  I ate more than usual to try and keep some heat in my body and also forced myself to drink tea on the road.  But none of this was enough.  And in the end, I couldn’t even feel my hands on the brakes.  That’s when it was becoming dangerous.  And despite the fact I couldn’t really feel any other part of my body because of the cold, I could still feel the pain in my knee from my crash on Saturday.  Now I’ll go home and repair my body and prepare as well as possible for my next race in Corsica.”

Rubens Bertogliati, one of the directeurs sportifs for IAM Cycling along with Kjell Carlström, was quick to point out the strength of the riders. 


“The guys really have to be brave and have a ton of mental strength to face and overcome this dreadful weather.  In these sorts of conditions, you can only express respect and take your hat off to them.”



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