On long, flat – dare we say it, slightly boring – days like the tenth stage of the Giro d’Italia you will often see the peloton led for kilometre after kilometre by one rider from the team of the dominant sprinter.
On Tuesday’s stage to Modena, it was Cesare Benedetti of Bora-Hansgrohe who sat on the front for what seemed like hours, the peloton bunched up behind him.
In the end it was all for nothing; the team’s sprinter, Pascal Ackerman, crashed heavily on the finishing straight. Ackerman was bleeding and hurt, his jersey and shorts in ribbons. Typically, the rider who stopped and waited and helped him to the line was the man who’d been on the front all day, Benedetti.
Benedetti is not a star, or a big name, but he is a vital cog in a team that came to the Giro with ambitions on two fronts, in the sprints with Ackerman and in the mountains with Rafal Majka and Davide Formolo.
If they’re successful – as Ackerman has already been, with two stage wins – these riders will get all the plaudits and praise, but they couldn’t do it without their Swiss army knife of a domestique, who, as well as bringing back breaks on the flat, is a strong rider in the mountains and Bora-Hansgrohe's road captain, making decisions and relaying messages between sports directors and teammates.
So who is Cesare Benedetti, and what do his days on the Giro look like? We talked to him to find out a little more about this Polish speaking Italian who rides for a German team; we also asked him to keep an audio diary of a typical day on the Giro.
Kilometre 0 is supported by Hansgrohe.