Sunday, July 25, 2021
HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia - Day 5: Stage 4, Salerno - Montevergine Di Mercogliano

Giro d’Italia – Day 5: Stage 4, Salerno – Montevergine Di Mercogliano

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“Rest day”, that’s a misnomer right away. The ferry was late into Civitavecchia; we had to do a death march with our bags across town to get our Hertz car; then there was a 300 K drive south; the Permanence in Montevergine Di Mercogliano wasn’t set-up (there were mountains of rubbish in the streets, so maybe it wasn’t surprising) and to finish off we had to pad the streets of Salerno until we found an internet cafe.

But we found one eventually and got our words and photos processed.

The pictures were for a couple of rest day pieces; one on TTT bikes and one on Rosella Signora from Sidi. Canada and the US, which are the main markets, are 8/9 hours behind us, which is good for us, deadlines are later, but eventually the stuff has to go.

Montevergine Di Mercogliano
This is Mr. Tinkov himself. Hates a bit of advertising. Loves cycling.

We’re heading for the Permanence this morning, so we’ll get those long-promised VeloVeritas pics away then – honest!

Salerno isn’t Edinburgh, every second bar doesn’t have wi-fi and the internet caff we found went like a fair. The cyber-world is in its early days here. It’s typical big city and the bad manners and abruptness come as a jolt after the easier experience of Sardinian people.

Speaking of travel arrangements, the pro riders association is on the war-path about the seemingly disastrous stage transfer yesterday – see our piece here. We’re a bit concerned about a rider’s “pedal to rule” protest today – let’s hope not.

Montevergine Di Mercogliano
Monte Casino now…

The day wasn’t all bad though, we saw a lot of Italy that was new to us, it was special driving past Monte Cassino, the hill top abbey founded in 524 AD by St. Benedict is visible for miles. In world war two it was the scene of a six month battle between the German garrison of crack Paras, and the Allies. I’ve read about it many times, but the there it was: big, squat and square on the summit.

Montevergine Di Mercogliano
… and Monte Casino after February 14th 1944, when the US bombers totally destroyed it. Over the following months, the Allies tried different assaults to capture the ruined summit from the German para’s, losing 54,000 of their number, whilst the Germans lost 20,000 troops here.

The stage starts here and finishes at Montevergine di Mercogliano, the first mountain finish – the profile in the race manual looks interesting; just a squiggly line.

It’s 07.00 now in Salerno and the city is coming to life, we plan to be on the road for 08.30 and waiting outside the permanence for it to open at 10.00; get the pics off to Scotland then get on the climb for around lunch time.

Montevergine Di Mercogliano
Another example of slightly squint Italian architecture.

We want to log the build-up to the stage and the race itself, taking plenty of pics during the day. The permanence is 16 K from the finish, so it will be a bit stressful getting off the hill and back to get our pics in, but that’s the journo life.

Best get my washing-in off the balcony and get moving!

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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