Chad Haga blog: Another rough week in the Sunweb camp
Week two of the Giro d'Italia started off better than we could have hoped for. After enjoying our rest day, we enjoyed two more. Many followers of the race complained about the boring, pancake-flat sprint stages, but we in the peloton savoured every minute of boredom, knowing what awaited us for the remainder of the Giro.
Our only objectives were to get through the sprint days safely and spend as little energy as possible. To that end, we had a competition within the team to see who could have the easiest day. I posted a photo of my average power and heart-rate for stage 10, and Twitter blew up, as expected.
Yes, it was a very easy day, but those numbers are misleading because of the effort and skill required to make it so easy – sagging every small rise and every acceleration out of corners, as well as taking "hiding in the bunch" to extremes. Some of my lighter teammates averaged 40 watts more than me, so even among professionals with the same goal, the effort varied greatly. And for those wondering: I came in a very close second in our competition behind Jan Bakelants, but I did win our heart-rate mini-challenge.
Having navigated the sprint stages well, we set our sights on breakaway success as the race entered the mountains. Already eyeing the final time trial in Verona, I focused more on helping my teammates get into the breakaway, before taking it as easy as possible until the finish.
I prefer the second-to-last gruppetto, as this is the group that prefers to climb marginally faster and descend with a bit less risk, whereas the sprinters' gruppetto aims to take back time on the descents.
An added challenge for the gruppetto is that, by the time we get there, many spectators have already begun riding home on the course and don't always do a good job of getting out of our way, which is kind of like a Formula 1 race being held while a vintage car club takes leisure laps.
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