I just don’t feel right in the mornings at the Giro d’Italia 2009 ’til I get my Gazzetta. Dave drove past a couple of newsagents this morning, I could see the pink pages, but not get to them – it was terrible!

Giro d'Italia 2009
Got the pink pages, all is good.

Dave predicted that Carlos would get 9 out of 10 – he was spot on. Levi got 4 and the man that the Gazzetta loves to hate; Gibo Simoni didn’t even get a mention.

Silvi Marina was the destination; Dave battered the Peugeot down the Autostrada for our rendezvous with Rubens Bertogliati, Ben Swift and Dario Cioni.

Giro d'Italia 2009
Ed is delighted to see the Gibo “sells windaez”.

‘Rest day’ is a misnomer if you’re a journo because you have to work all the harder to get content. On race days, all you need to do is to keep your eyes open. But on the ‘riposo’ you have to hunt it out. On the way down to the Hermitage hotel, we passed Saxo Bank out for an easy pedal.

Then we saw Barloworld’s Chris Froome and John-Lee Augustyn [the guy who tried to fly off the top of the Restefond in last year’s Tour] out for an easy one; John Lee tried to run me toes over as I took his pic – the little monkey.

Giro d'Italia 2009
The vast Hermitage hotel.

The Hermitage wasn’t hard to find, it towers over the promenade. Katusha, ISD and Silence-Lotto were holed up there.

Skek time – the Katusha bus is beautifully turned out but the ISD bus has cracking graphics. Dario arrived as we mooched about his team’s wagon; the fluo ISD strip doesn’t look as hard on the eye in the flesh, as it does on TV.

Apparently, Mario Cipollini has started a clothing firm and he’s the team’s new supplier – that explains it!

Talking of Cipollini, Dario was sporting a sleeveless ISD jersey – nice.

The Belgian posse from Silence-Lotto rode in – no Charly Wegelius in evidence. Gilbert seemed full of fun, I’m not sure his sponsors will be so chuffed, mind.

Those Katusha Ridleys sure are nice, so are the Diquigiovanni Guerciottis.

Gibo appeared – he needs a result, but maybe it’s one Giro too far?

Interview time – Rubens is polite, attentive, fun, looks great and obviously still loves his sport.

Ben looks young enough to be a junior, sparkling eyes, handsome, a bit cheeky, knocked out to be competing against his boyhood hero Lance, but not starstruck.

Giro d'Italia 2009
Dario just back from his potter.

Dario is handsome, trendy, laid back, hugely knowledgeable and experienced (16 Grand Tours). It’s his career now – a real pro’s pro.

We had good chats with all three – likeable men and a privilege to be sitting chatting to them.

Time to get the pix away, the first batch flew off from reception without drama; the second batch was a nightmare – but that’s computers, for you.

Giro d'Italia 2009
We’re holed-up in a truckers stop, but the beer’s cold, so it’s ok.

We decided to grab the very first hotel we saw; every other night is booked, but not tonight. It was a truckers motel, just a couple of minutes from the Hermitage.

The beer is cold, the grub was good, the linen is clean – and we’re right above the kitchen ventilation ducts, we’ll waken up smelling of risotto!

Ciao, ciao – Blockhaus tomorrow!