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‘At one point I couldn't feel my hands’  – Juan Ayuso suffers in Tirreno-Adriatico cold but stays in control

Juan Ayuso suffered in the early March cold of central Italy during stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico but kept the race leader’s blue jersey as the days ticked down to an expected showdown with Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease A Bike) on the key mountain stages on Friday and Saturday.

The UAE Team Emirates leader is naturally very lean and admitted he suffers in the cold. But he fought to stay warm like everyone in the peloton during the 225 km ride from Volterra in Tuscany to Gualdo Tadino in eastern Umbria.

The riders avoided some early morning hailstones but could not avoid getting caught in the rain showers that followed, often suffering from wheel spray on rainsoaked roads.

The temperatures varied from 15C when the Italian spring sun emerged, to 5C at the finish, with the snow covering the Apennines overlooking Gualdo Tadino.

“I suffer in the cold and it was pretty cold today,” Ayuso said after pulling on the leader’s jersey over a thick team jacket but still shivering.

“At one point I couldn’t feel my hands and so it was hard to brake. But suffering in the cold is part of cycling.”

“The finish was a little dangerous but I stayed safe and braked when they crashed. I didn’t want to risk anything.”

After winning the opening 10km time trial on Monday, Ayuso leads Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) by six seconds. Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease A Bike) stayed wrapped up and hidden in the peloton for the stage and remains fifth overall, 22 seconds down on Ayuso.

Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) is seventh at 24 seconds, Nielsen Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) is eighth at 26 seconds and Max Poole (Dsm-firmenich PostNL) is ninth in the same time.

A total of 58 riders remain within a minute of the race leader and so anything could happen on Friday’s fifth stage through the Abruzzo mountains to Valle Castellana and then on Saturday’s mountain finish on Monte Petrano.

Thursday’s 207 km stage to Giulianova is another long haul across central Italy but is likely to suit the faster riders who can survive the rolling 22km finishing circuit.

“I think the cold could affect the upcoming stages quite a lot,” Ayuso warned.

“I need to get warm quickly and recover from today. It wasn’t the hardest stage but the cold makes you feel more fatigued.” 

“Let’s hope that Thursday’s stage is raced in better weather so that we can recover. Then we have Friday and Saturday to get through after that.”

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
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