This year’s Giro d’Italia has been severely affected by illness and sickness within the peloton, more so than at any other grand tour I can personally remember. Amongst them was Briton Bradley Wiggins, the team Sky leader who was forced to who was forced to withdraw before stage 13 with a chest infection. Bad weather and a very stressful
first week of racing has conspired against the riders, and that shows no signs of easing as we head into the second week. We caught up with the head race doctor and some of the key staff behind the peloton to find out exactly how sickness affects a grand tour. During the race, a lot of people, a lot of riders today asked for the doctor during the race to have support, especially for the throat and pulmonary problems due to the bad weather we’ve had in Italy this year. It’s very, very, very hard conditions for the riders we know we’ve got a hard stages like this, today and tomorrow and after, the stage that is 20, 25km is hard for all the peloton, and we have to manage many diseases like a virus, everything like this it’s not a very good condition, to work in the rain, and we have to manage that because we have to perform in the big tour. But we’ll see, we’ll do our job we just have to keep the riders’ safety and all of that. The riders are really sick after
the bad weather conditions and some riders needed to stop, that’s what we’ve all seen. As an example, all our riders need to ask the team doctor what they can use to relax, or to avoid any more infection, but it’s quite difficult, so there are no other chances to ask the doctor if they can use this medicine or not, and if not they he cannot allow it. It is much worse than usual because it’s also cold and wet and that is the worst conditions to ride a stage of the Giro d’Italia. The problem with even a common
cold in a race as demanding as the Giro is that it can be almost impossible to shake off. This is what we did, an exam during the race, when a rider comes over and says: “I cannot… breathe, I cannot have any air”, the directeur sportif calls the team doctor: “so I’ve got a product here, is this allowed or not?”, and then it’s “OK, this is what you can use.” But in other cases, there’s no chance so the riders need to suffer a bit, that’s harsh and as you can see, not every rider can survive here so it’s very difficult. Whilst most riders will carry on regardless, the risks of continuing are considerable, and that’s why team Sky decided to send Brad home. For the first time in Giro history there’s a specialist ambulance on site, which allows them to do x-rays, which reduces the time of diagnosis. GCN went inside the ambulance. We have done in this Giro already 21 x-ray examinations and we spare so much time that we normally spend in the hospital This is a simple car that is covered by lead just because there must not be any radiation that goes around. There is no other cycling race that’s ever had such a unique x-ray unit. The good news for the riders, though, is that recovery is indeed possible with the right support behind them.