There is an excellent article (find it here) in today's Wall Street Journal, of all places, on the skills that it takes to descend if you are a racer in the Giro d'Italia. Most non-cyclists think that climbing is the hard part (well, sometimes it is!) but there is an art to descending that probably makes it even more challenging. As a fairly heavy person, I accelerate so fast on downhills that I have to brake a lot and envy riders like Young Jeff who can just fly through the curves. It is an aspect of racing you do not see very often on live coverage since the motorcycles and their camermen cannot keep up with the racers through the narrow curves. Exciting stuff, and an excellent article.
And here is Christian Vandevelde, who unfortunately crashed at the Giro yesterday and is out of the race, commenting about the type of race the Giro is:
"There are days where you go through a town and you might be going easy or you might be going hard and than all of a sudden you have random people like Bettini sprint to the front. You wonder, 'What's going on?' and then everybody slams on their brakes.
"Suddenly you have people passing out pastries, cookies and ice cream and everyone grabs as much as they can and start stuffing their faces. Then they jump back on the bike and keep on riding. That's just weird and crazy to me [laughs]. We get back on the bike and everyone acts like that's a normal thing and you go on with the rest of the race."