It’s the Scottish Road Championships today – damn this Giro and it’s climbs around Busto Arsizio in beautiful Lombardy! But Martin was telling me that the sun was out in Balfron and the jackets were off, so Scotland certainly had the last laugh – the weather here in Italy was grim.

We just beat the rain back to the car for the roll out but, it was incessant from there on.

It was still raining cats and dogs this morning, when we got up – and it’s raining now as we head for Rovereto and an interview with Ryder Hesjedal. God willing.

Yesterday’s stage reminded us of just how tough Grand Tours are.

Four categorised climbs and another hill which would be a ‘monster’ in any other race – but on this day, uncategorised.

The climbs were all around Lecco – Tour of Lombardy country.

Busto Arsizio
It’s very very hilly here.

When the mist and cloud cleared, it was a beautiful place to be.

But most of the time it was grey, chilly and miserable with poor visibility.

A lot of the surfaces were very poor and the final descent – off the San Pietro – was positively scary in a Fiat Panda, never mind a 16 lb race bike on 23mm tubulars.

We didn’t get on to the last climb, our creds apparently didn’t work for that stretch of the percorso.

Lone leader Rabottini looked good, relaxed, high cadenced and very focussed.

Cunego is coming back but Rabottini is still alone and strong.

If Rodriguez let him win then it was the right thing to do.

And if Rabottini won it ‘straight’ – then even more respect.

Dave and I met the young Italian’s dad, a couple of years ago on a Giro rest day.

We were meeting Dario Cioni, Charly Wegelius and Ben Swift at their hotel on the Adriatic coast.

We spied a nice looking bike shop whilst stopped for a coffee, dived in – and there was Rabottini senior.

A nice man – and a Tirreno-Adriatico overall winner.

Shortly thereafter, junior won the Italian U23 RR Championship which set him on the road to Pian dei Resinelli, Giro stardom and saving Farnese Vini’s race.

Busto Arsizio
Charly Wegelius is on the staff with Garmin nowadays.

Those football players who roll around in agony at the slightest touch should take a look at yesterday’s stage.

During his epic ride, Rabottini came down on a descent but was up and back on his way in less time than it takes to write – a real sportsman.

Dave and I have seen a few Grand Tour stages now, but never one so fragmented as this – there were riders everywhere.

Busto Arsizio
Look who we saw. Last seen allegedly being served a summons by the Feds upon arrival in the USA…

Rabottini’s soigneur was cleaning him for the podium before we’d even seen the gruppetto.

We didn’t catch sight of Cav, but he’s still there.

He has one more chance at a stage win – and three days of pure horror still to endure, if he’s to make it to Milano.

Busto Arsizio
Jack Bauer with Stefan Denifl.

There were riders all over the hill, ones, twos, fours – and a big sombre gruppetto.

Serious faces in this ‘bus.

Sometimes there are smiles and chat back there, but not on Sunday.

Alex Rasmussen just gets it over with.
Tiralongo has had a good Giro.

And that was our Giro.

Well, not quite, the satnav says 11.0 miles to Ryder’s hotel.

We’ll let you know how it goes, tomorrow.

By which times, to quote Dave; ‘our creds’ll be nae guid tae us!

Ciao, ciao.

We do love the Giro.