Competition cycling is hard and that is reflected in its best expression during the Grand Tours. It is an exercise of sacrifice day after day for three weeks in which the ambition of the rivals does not allow you to fail. Tension, effort and agony that not everyone, even top-level professionals, can endure.
However, what we are seeing in this edition of the Giro d'Italia is anomalous. Various circumstances are taking their toll on the peloton and this has led to a very high number of retirements when we just crossed the halfway point of the race.
Falls like this have been repeated over the days and it was in stage 11 that the situation reached its most critical state. Ten runners dropped out in it. The bad weather that made the race worse with heavy rain combined with the reappearance of Covid in many teams of the international peloton are responsible for this.
For now, only 139 riders of the 176 who started the Giro are still in the race. After 11 stages, 21% of the cyclists have dropped out, the highest percentage of the century after having only played the first half of the lap. There is no edition of the Giro itself, nor of the Tour, nor of La Vuelta that has eliminated so many people in this short period of time. Something curious considering that during this time editions have been held in the midst of a pandemic where the mere fact of testing positive for Covid forced you to leave.
In addition to all these circumstances, there have been other unfortunate situations that have also caused falls. This one where Alberto Bettiol hits an assistant who doesn't look when crossing the road is completely surreal, but there have been more, like the incident involving Remco Evenepoel with a dog that sent him to the ground. Of course, this is not being an easy Turn in any sense.
The dropout list is already huge but it should tend to grow even more. Not only because of the bad weather, which seems to have come to stay, but also because it is in the third week that most runners are forced to return home. The accumulated fatigue and the hard mountain stages are usually the main reasons for the casualties in recent days. If it continues like this, surely we can talk about this Giro as one of the most chaotic in its entire history.