Mark Cavendish got Cycling Weekly’s attention when he Tweeted the other day: “Got a new ‘minder’ (ok, bodyguard) for the Giro… but he’s got ginger hair… can i really have a ginger bodyguard?”
We did some investigation (okay, hanging around the start village in Piombino) and found out more.
“I look after everybody,” he said. “It was a joke between us, he just decided to put it on Twitter, the idiot. No, he doesn’t need a bodyguard, who’s going to get him? He only needs a bodyguard for himself.”
The man in question is Tom Paton, short and tough looking. “Don’t use my name because I really am a f***ing bodyguard. You know what I’m saying?”
He said he does more than run beside Cavendish at the starts and finishes, though. He also cleans cars, gives massages and tends to the other riders when they are on the podium.
“Bodyguard is not the term to use, it’s just more the fact that I have red hair that he likes to put shit on me. Him and I are mates, he likes to joke.”
Pasamontes and Ulissi’s finish line tiff
It was a stage finish like any other into Orvieto. Crossing the line together just outside the top eighty were Movistar rider Luis Pasamontes and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD).
Only Pasamontes then took a bad line and veered left, leaning on Ulissi and almost making him crash into the waiting soigneurs and press. The Italian wasn’t best pleased about it.
They stopped and a slanging match ensued for a few seconds, Italian fire burning in the Lampre man’s eyes, injustices tripping off his tongue. The soigneurs wisely stepped between the men.
Perhaps remembering former teammate Rui Costa’s infamous brawl with Carlos Barredo at last year’s Tour, Pasamontes said “tranquillo, tranquillo” and the pair rode off to their respective buses.
Giro d’Italia deaths
Wouter Weylandt’s death has left his team-mates, family and indeed, the whole cycling world in shock. Thankfully, though, it was only the fourth such incident in the Giro d’Italia’s 94-year history.
As with the 26-year-old Belgian, the other three came from head injuries.
– Italian Orfeo Ponsin died in the 1952 edition, during the fourth leg from Siena to Rome. On the descent of the Merluzza, his tyre exploded and he crashed head-first into a tree.
The 23-year-old was not even supposed to race the Giro d’Italia in 1952. He was called at the last moment to replace Silvio Pedroni.
– Spaniard Juan Manuel Santisteban did his job on May 21, 1976 in the first half of a two-part stage one. He helped KAS team-mate Gonzalez Linares back after a puncture, but crashed, landed on his head and died immediately.
Grim photos show rivers of blood coming from the 31-year-old’s head, similar to when Italian Fabio Casartelli died in the 1995 Tour de France.
-Italian Emilio Ravasio finished the second part of stage one May 12, 1986, after a crash. The 23-year-old returned to the team’s hotel, but two hours later he slipped into a coma.
Doctors operated on his brain, but were unsuccessful. After 16 days in a coma, Ravasio died.
“Words don’t exist to console the family [of Weylandt],” Ravasio’s brother told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s up to the journalists to send a warm hug to Wouter’s team-mate and his family.”
Vorganov goes down again
Even on Tuesday’s sombre fourth stage, neutralised in honour of Wouter Weylandt, there was still an incident to speak of.
Geox captain Denis Menchov, not a man who has needed much invitation to hit the deck in the past, got tangled up with fellow Russian Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) – yes, he of bizarre-breakaway-bike-skittering fame from the race’s opening road stage – and Francesco Reda (Quick Step) 50 kilometres from the finish.
Vorganov’s rotten luck continues: he came off worst, suffering abrasions to his left arm and leg to go with the wounds sustained from Sunday’s fall.
We spied him at the start in Piombino, sporting several bandages.
Best of Twitter
“Another stage I was scared of. Nailed it almost perfectly… gravel sections not so selective. Most of them were almost downhill and way too dangerous than last year, in my opinion.”
@marcopinotti, Wednesday evening after stage five to Orvieto
Giro d’Italia 2011: Latest news
Blythe finding way in second Grand Tour
Leopard-Trek withdraws from Giro d’Italia
Leopard-Trek uncertain to continue in Giro
Tuesday’s Giro stage in memory of Weylandt
Giro doctor describes actions to save Weylandt
Wouter Weylandt killed in Giro crash
Giro news shorts (May 8)
Cavendish likely to take Giro lead tomorrow
Giro 2011: Who will win?
Kennaugh to lead Team Sky in Giro’s opening stage
Nibali’s Giro fight with Contador may reach the courtroom
Riis defends Contador’s participation in Giro
Cavendish set to start winning again at the Giro
Doping investigations force cyclists out of Giro d’Italia
Kennaugh replaces Pauwels in Sky’s Giro line-up
Contador scouts out the Giro mountains
Cavendish and Millar top list of Giro-bound Brits
Lampre likely for Giro despite doping investigation
Giro announces record 23 teams to race
2011 Giro to start in Turin with team time trial
Giro goes one up on the Tour with spectacular route
Nygaard, Sciandri and Lloyd comment on 2011 Giro route
Nibali’s Giro d’Italia?
Giro d’Italia 2011: Stage reports
Giro d’Italia 2011: Photo galleries
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Giro d’Italia 2011: Live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2011: Start list
Giro d’Italia 2011: TV schedule