I had my share of personal suffering during the weekend climbing Galibier, Alpe d'huez, and Izoard; plus all the going back and forth from the hotel to the climbs. Nevertheless, it became much clearer to me how much the pros must suffer. The pressures to win a stage, a jersey, to place high in the GC must bring them to levels of suffering that are hard to imagine.
23 year old Luca Ascani won the 42.8-kilometre time trial yesterday in Novi Ligure to become Italian National Time Trial Champion. This is what he said about his suffering afterwards, "The crono is a massacre. You have to go at your limits on the tip of the saddle. You have to depart at full speed and keep it going at full speed to the edge of death, saying 'I am already dead,' but still continuing on the tip of the saddle."
Quote courtesy of www.cyclingnews.com
UPDATE: August 3rd. Well, the doping situation is terrible. Post TdF comes this from www.cyclingnews.com on August 3rd:
Luca Ascani positive for EPO
The reigning Italian time trial champion Luca Ascani (Aurum Hotels) was suspended by his team following news that the rider had tested positive for EPO. The 24 year-old tested positive following his championship ride, according to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), the country's antidoping agency.