Cadel Evans is fuming after a mechanical problem with his bike in snowy conditions cost him his second placing at the Giro d'Italia on the penultimate stage.
In a three-week race contested in the most brutal of weather conditions, it was a desperately cruel blow for the 36-year-old Australian who has sent a strong message to those who doubted he could rediscover good form ahead of the Tour de France.
With his bike malfunctioning for the last 2km up the last climb to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo summit, Evans lost a further 1m30 seconds to be 5:52 behind stage winner and race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who was all but assured of a glorious victory in his home country.
Much more painfully, he was powerless to stop Colombia's Rigoberto Uran (Sky) taking 1:11 from him to overtake him in second place with Evans 1:09 behind in third.
Evans brushed aside his BMC Racing team staff as he dismounted at the finish, examining his gears and bike and seeing the sprockets covered in slushy snow which may have prevented him using his chosen gear.I have enough trouble with my gears when it rains - the front derailleur gums up with grit and stuff and sticks on the big cog, so I tend to find myself unable to change down when I really need to. I'm now quite adept at unclipping my right shoe and then belting the derailleur with a sideways blow with my toes in order to get it onto the small cog. Trouble is, that trick only works on the front cog. Snow would be a nightmare on the rear cluster. I have heard stories from Canberra riders about cables freezing and refusing to move in winter.
Cadel will just have to take a lesson from me - when the conditions are awful, carry a very small can of WD40.
I am just getting back into cycling: Brisbane is not to bad in what passes for winter. (Apart from the couple of weeks of westerly winds that really make you wonder why you got out of bed.
On the topic of "frozen" chains and sprockets:
Have you tried any of the Teflon based lubes. If you were REALLY hard core, you could get your drive-train components Teflon treated in an industrial Vacuum tank: totally "dry" lube.
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