The 2013 Giro d’Italia will be remembered as one of the most grueling of the corsa rosa’s 96 editions.
For the Italian tyre manufacturer, Vittoria, the Giro’s official servizio corse, the opening three weeks of May proved to be a busy period.
As provider of neutral service support to all 23 teams who took part, including six of its sponsored teams, Vittoria tyres racked up some 187,510km during the 20 stages of racing – one less than originally scheduled, owing to heavy snow.
The Madone-based firm took three support cars and one motorbike to the race – the latter for the challenging terrain of some high-mountain stages.
Each car carried up to 16 wheels, as well as three spare bikes in a range of different sizes to accommodate as many of the riders as possible, keen to avoid the faux pas of a rival only able to provide Jens Voight with a bike several sizes too small and equipped with toe clips at the 2010 Tour de France.
Providing replacement wheels is a task complicated by splits in the peloton between component supplier (Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo) and between riders running 10 or 11 speeds.
Some 40 per cent of Vittoria’s six teams – Blanco, Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, Colombia, Euskaltel Euskadi, Movistar and Argos–Shimano – selected a 25mm tyre, with the remainder on 23mm. All of them used tubulars, the CORSA CX and SC, and Vittoria’s “open” tub.
The teams accounted for 18 podium finishes, among them six stage wins, five second-placed finishes, and seven thirds. Double stage winner, Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), winner of stages 15 and 17, claimed two of the victories.
Vittoria’s servizio corse turned out to be over-prepared. They were called upon just once a day on average over the 21 days of the race, with most teams able to support their own riders, but on stage 12 from Longarone to Treviso replaced four wheels.
Call out to their own teams was higher, and occasionally proved crucial. Carlos Betancur, winner of the white jersey for best young rider, received a new wheel after a puncture just 3km from the line in Vicenza, on stage 17. The Columbian was forced to wait for Vittoria’s car after the vehicle sent by the commissaries arrived without a spare wheel.
The Vittoria cars also carried refreshments: CamelBak bottles filled with hot tea on the coldest stages, including the snow-bound Queen stage to the summit of Tre Cime di Lavaredo.