Pro cycling folklore has it that strange things happen on the rest day of a Grand Tour.
Form can evaporate. “Good” legs become bad. From contender to bunch-filler in twenty-four hours. This may or may not have something to do with the amount of down-time the riders have, and the corresponding quantity of Nutella they eat.
Elia Viviani, Italy’s top sprinter, suffers from a common affliction in pro cycling.
It is thought that as many as 99.94% of all pro cyclists, in fact, are affected. An otherwise unhumanly fit and healthy man, Viviani has contracted a chronic case of not being Cavendish, Kittel or Greipel.
As regular readers of this blog might be aware my brain is a simple affair. I may occasionally look as if I’m deep in thought, but my mind will almost certainly be latched on to some inconsequential detail of whatever bike race happens to be going on at the time.
I know it to be true – I can see it with my own eyes – but committing to the fact that I’m watching the Giro d’Italia race around the streets of Jerusalem still requires a leap of faith.
But it’s an actual fact.
And in our post-truth world, actual facts can be tricky things to come by.