Rest days have been a part of the Giro since its inaugural edition in 1909. Back then, riders would ride one stage and then have two, sometimes three, days between the next stage. It’s not hard to see why: in 1909, the average length of the eight stages was 306 kilometres, as opposed to 162 kilometres across 21 stages in 2013.
This year’s Giro will have two rest days – the first after stage nine, the second follows stage 15. Two rest days have been customary in the race since 2002, although as recently as 1998, the Giro was held without a single day off across the three weeks.
Although riders will not be racing on the rest days, they will still ride their bikes for one or two hours. This prevents muscle stiffness and will help flesh out metabolic waste from the previous day’s stage. In recent years, some teams have opted to ride on their turbo trainers as opposed to heading out onto the road.
Riders will continue to eat foods high in carbohydrates and proteins on rest days, although some teams in the past have been known to give their riders a treat if the final rest day falls after the last decisive stage on the general classification. Burger and chips is a favourite within the Garmin-Sharp team.
Throughout the three weeks of competition (3-26 May) Multipower Sportsfood, is also offering cycle fans the chance to get their hands on a variety of prizes in an easy to enter daily prediction competition. Prizes include signed race jerseys, Giro d’Italia drinks bottles and the ultimate prize of a Cannondale Pro Cycling Super Six EVO Team Edition professional race bike worth £6,499. To take part in the competition entrants simply need to visit the Multipower website, www.multipower.com/uk/giro , and vote for their stage favourite before the 10km to go marker.