Traversa D’Italia: Racing Between the Seas with Team Novo Nordisk’s Andrea Peron

Ciclissimo! is pleased to be racing from the sea to the land beyond at the 2017 Tirreno-Adriatico with Andrea Peron as Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all diabetes pro-cycling team, make their debut at this prestigious and stunning Italian WorldTour stage race. Follow the 28 year old sprinter from Veneto as he traverses between the two seas of Italia which give the race its name.

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Stage 4: Montalto Di Castro – Terminillo, 171 km

Today, the Tirreno-Adriatico finally turns left and begins its charge across the spine of Italia in order to keep its appointment with Adriatic for the finale on Tuesday. Finishing atop Monte Terminillo, it’s the Queen Stage and, thankfully, it’s not a case of “Off with her head!” this year as it was in 2016, which saw the mountain top finish at the ski resort curtailed due to lots of snow. Firstly, however, comes a dash across the vast plain of the Rieti province – once  a huge lake until the Romans drained it all a couple of thousand years ago and created the fertile basin that the area is now – after more snaking up the typical, densely wooded foothills we have grown accustomed to in the previous days. Ciclissimo! will never grow tired of such terrain: The terracotta tiles and green shutters of the precariously pitched hamlets, the smell of woodsmoke through the trees and the buzz of the ubiquitous 3-wheeled Ape around every other corner.

Cycling: 52nd Tirreno-Adriatico 2017 / Stage 4
Photo: @TDW Sport

But it is the rarefied atmosphere of the towering, icing sugar snow-capped Abruzzi Apennine mountain range, sat impassively under the rich, azure skies, that will shape this stage and is at the forefront of Andrea & the squad’s minds despite being sat in the piazza under pleasingly warm sun at the start…

Cycling: 52nd Tirreno-Adriatico 2017 / Stage 4
Photo: @TDW Sport

“It will be sunny today but we still have to go up to 2,000 meters.March in Italy at 2,000 meters can get really cold: It’ll be colder than previous days. When we prepped this morning, we didn’t go all the way to winter gear, but we put on some vests. The top of the climb is supposed to be around 0 degrees C, so we all have already arranged with soigneurs to have jackets ready for us when we arrive at the summit…”

 The race kicks off at pretty much kilometro zero as a plucky group of the usual suspects, including Team Novo Nordisk’s French neo-pro Romain Gioux, dart out and go about forcing a gap. Turns out that Romain’s longest rides ever were stages 2 & 3 of this years race! Time to crack open a Montepulciano in Chez Ciclissimo! and drink in the beauty of today’s tappa!

Cycling: 52nd Tirreno-Adriatico 2017 / Stage 4
Photo: @TDW Sport
“We knew that the general classification would be decided today, possibly tomorrow. It was a day for the climbers and like some of the other days, there was a lot of wind.
 
In the beginning, most of the climber’s teams did the work. BMC and FDJ worked early and then at the final climb, any team that had a climber started working. Typical of any mountain stage, all the riders that weren’t interested in the climb quickly formed a grupetto. It was pretty big, and we simply rode together to the finish.
 
On the climb, we did it fairly easy, so we definitely needed the clothes to stay warm. When you don’t go full gas and it’s zero degrees-C, you need something to keep you warm. Luckily, the bus was only 500 meters after the finish, so we were quickly on the bus, showering and getting warm.
help CP
Photo: @TeamNovoNordisk/ Phil Sutherland
 
On a long day like today, we start to eat bars pretty early. In the feed zone, we all made sure to grab bags. This is now the third day of around 6-hour racing, so you have to eat a lot throughout the race to make sure your body has what it needs to recover. This means more than 4,000 calories a day. When I walked onto the bus, I showered and then had some rice and protein.
 
Tomorrow will be the hardest stage of the race. Today was hard and a long climb, but tomorrow has a wall at 20 percent. It probably will end up being the defining day for the GC
A Domani!
Andrea”