21 May 2015
Its been one of those days at the Giro dItalia. The pack endured an average speed of about 50 km/h for the first two hours of racing, strong cross winds, and then a heavy rain storm pummeling the Vicenza area to make for an even more dangerous and demanding technical final. Add to that the unruly fans who got in the way of the gruppetto trying to make their way to the top of the climb to Monte Berico, and it was a wild day for everyone. Philippe Gilbert (BMC) succeeded in avoiding all the pitfalls and used his explosiveness to win in style. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) consolidated his pink jersey by clawing a few seconds away from a fading Fabio Aru.
For IAM Cycling, the day was not especially propitious, though Sébastien Reichenbach did manage to finish in the wake of the favorites, some 11 seconds back. But with 20 kilometers to go to, Stef Clement crashed on a bend of the descent of the final climb. With his left hip and elbow affected, Clement, who is a valued road captain for the Swiss team, still succeeded in remounting and making it to the finish. However, before he could be checked out by the paramedics, he had to visit the doping control first.
Thierry Marichal, directeur sportif along with Kjell Carlström, was not the least impressed with the disorganization the riders faced in the finale. The last riders were hijacked by the crowds even before they could start the final ascent. The security service was unable to contain the exuberant fans on the road. This was a bit of a problem for us since Stef Clement was called to the doping control at the finish. We had to help him elbow through with a car in order to get him to the doping control tent in time so that they could test him.
Marichal also discussed the difficult day that IAM Cycling experienced. The descent was so slippery that there were riders on the ground at every corner. We had Stef Clement and Sébastien Reichenbach in the group of favorites. But in the highly technical and dangerous descent, Stef made a mistake along with a rider from Sky on a left hand bend. Despite the wounds he suffered on his left elbow and hip, he still managed to find the strength to finish. I hope his injuries will not prevent him from starting Fridays stage.