The Giro d’Italia is notorious for its long transfers between stages, but the transfer after Thursday’s Mount Etna stage took things to new levels as some team did not arrive at their hotels until 11pm.
The stage itself was one of the earliest finishing of any of the stages of the race so far, with stage-winner Esteban Chaves crossing the line at 5:10pm local time, ahead of the medium time schedule.
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Around 50 minutes later the teams started to leave the mountain, with the buses and team cars making the 100km trip along the coast to Messina to catch the ferry across the Strait of Messina to the town of Villa San Giovanni on the Italian mainland.
However that’s where things started to go wrong as while some teams were able to board an early boat, others were delayed by one of the ferries having broken down meaning that a number of teams, including the Team Sunweb squad of defending champion Tom Dumoulin, were not able to board the ferry until 9.45pm.
The long trip was clearly having a negative effect on some people
From there the teams then had to complete the drive to their hotels between Villa San Giovanni and Friday’s stage town of Pizzo – another 100km up the coast.
That meant that some teams did not arrive at the hotels until 10.30-11pm, meaning a late dinner and bedtime for the riders, but even later for the team mechanics who then had to get to work cleaning the team bikes in the dark in the hotel car parks.
However, it was not the same test of post-stage endurance for everyone, with UAE Team Emirates and Team Sky both using helicopters to get their riders to the hotel at a decent for hour for some proper recovery.
The good news for the riders was that Friday’s stage is a a relative doddle, being flat and just 159km in length, and not rolling out until 1.25pm to allow the riders a bit of a lie in.