The 2019 Giro d’Italia has underlined what a hard sport cycling can be at times for James Knox, who is racing to support Deceuninck-Quick-Step team-mate Bob Jungels in the overall battle.
The 23-year-old Briton is racing his first Grand Tour, which became harder after a crash in stage four.
“Unfortunately it’s a pretty tough sport at times and I’m a bit down with it at the moment,” Knox told Cycling Weekly at the start of stage seven.
“I’m hoping it’ll come around and I’ll have legs there for the final [wee] but yeah, this is part of it and I just have to get on with it.”
Knox knee was under a bandage, but he said that was just some small scrapes.
“The right knee is where the bruising is and that’s causing the problems. I bashed my knee and it’s still quite painful, so riding through the stages has been uncomfortable,” he added.
“Primarily [my job] meant to be staying with Bob, the team’s now more focused on getting myself back to 100 per cent so it kind of changed yesterday. I just completely sat up on the final climb and rode in the gruppetto with Elia [Viviani] but it’s tough.”
Jungels finished 11th in the Tour de France in 2018 and in the Giro d’Italia, sixth and eighth.
“Really I should be there with Bob and making sure he’s OK in the finishes and making sure there’s no splits and making sure he’s in the front but at the moment I’m not in a postilion to do that,” he said.
“I slagged that final climb yesterday and I was in pain, so as soon as I mentioned that to the DS, he said you are just going to have ride easy.”
Friday’s stage seven climbs to L’Aquila, an area still recovering from an earthquake several years ago. Knox is looking ahead to the time trial on Sunday and the day after, a rest day. Both days will allow him to recover energy, or just not spend so much, as he looks further forward to the Alpine stages.
“I’m certainly enjoying it, it’s great to be here,” Knox said, soaking up the atmosphere at the Vasto stage start and his first grand tour.
“It’s difficult at times. The hard thing is that when you are still finding it’s difficult and at the moment, I’m not as chirpy as I should be just because I’m thinking [I should be there with Jungels].”