Wednesday, July 28, 2021
HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia - Day 6: Stage 5, Teano - Frascati

Giro d’Italia – Day 6: Stage 5, Teano – Frascati

-

Thursday 08.30, Caserta, Frascati. We’re in Italy’s answer to that hotel where Jack Nicholson lost the plot in ‘The Shining’.

Huge, empty corridors, plumbing and electrics that have a mind of their own, plus the world’s most disinterested and rude staff – maybe they are zombies? Still, we were glad to lay our heads down here late last night, it was a long day.

We left Salerno yesterday around 09.00 and drove up to Mercogliano at the foot of the big climb and where the permanence was located. The press room is supposed to open at 10.00 but it was nearer 11.00 before our first pics hurtled into the ether; I think Mertin should have them up by now [I do, and they’re peppered throughout the diary now! – Editor.].

We thought we had nothing better to do than drive up the climb but it was not to be, there was no one except the police and velos going up there before the race. Our mode of transport was the funicolare (funicular); what is a ten kilometre-plus drive takes less than ten minutes as the little carriage wheechs straight up the mountainside. We were up there all afternoon.

The crowd was nothing like you would get at an equivalent Tour stage, but getting up there was a pain and this is still southern Italy; cycling heartland is further north in Tuscany and Lombardy. I think the pics we took gave a good sense of what it was all about.

Frascati
Moser still has it: tall, fit, oozes class.

It’s hard to convey the excitement among the young fans though, it’s verging on football fan frenzy and just a little unsettling.

Liquigas’ Vincenzo Nibali is up and coming, he sets pulses racing, as does Saunier’s Riccardo Ricco. Both are precocious, attacking riders, not afraid to upset the ‘old order’, they are also good-looking laddies; it’s easy to see why the young fans identify with them.

Ricco was second behind Di Luca on the stage and propelled himself into the climber’s jersey whilst Nibali retained the white jersey of best young rider. He’s not one of my favourite riders (Tom Boonen + Guy Smet) but I have to say, Di Luca looks amazing in the maglia rosa; super-cool.

Getting-off the mountain wasn’t super-cool though, it was grim.

The queues for the funicolare were huge and every now and again “VIP’s” would be forced to the head of the throng by officials, making for a dangerous situation on a steep staircase – but that’s Italy!

Frascati
Wee Riccó chats away to the press.

The pain was eased by meeting Maurizio Fondriest in the crush and chatting to him for ten minutes. It was Fondriest, who, in 1988 benefited from Steve Bauer’s decking (that’s allegedly, if Steve’s lawyers are reading) of Claude Criquielion at the end of the world road race championships in Ronse, Belgium. As ‘Claudy’ limped over the line on foot, young Fondriest had already snaffled the title.

He was a nice guy, easy to talk to and still looking very fit. As I recall, Robert Millar used to reckon that Fondriest was the coolest-looking guy in the world when it came to position on a bike.

Eventually we got off the hill and in to the permanence. The wi-fi behaved and it wasn’t too long before we could head north, to where we are now.

It was late when we finally got to bed and like Dave said – “mind and double-lock that door son!”

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.

Related Articles

Danilo di Luca, to the victor, the spoils…

When Sci'Con set out to celebrate the victory of Danilo di Luca in the 2007 Giro d'Italia, what better way than with an all-pink Aerotech Evolution Art. 70 rigid bicycle case, produced as a single specimen colored to match the Giro d'Italia winner's jersey.

Giro d’Italia – Day 7: Stage 6, Tivoli – Spoleto

It's our last stage today, it's Friday morning and we're in Tivoli, headed for Spoleto. Yesterday was an up and down sort of day, although by the sixth grappa last night it seemed fine. We left our hotel (as featured in George A Romero's movie - Zombies, Dawn of the Dead) and headed for the stage start at Teano, we would never have found it if we hadn't tagged-on to the Mavic neutral service cars.

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

"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.

Giro d’Italia 2007 – Day 4: Rest Day

Giro d'Italia 2007, It's 05.00 hours, Tuesday, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, somewhere west of Civitavecchia - that's the sea port for Rome. "An ugly and forgettable port that's best avoided" according to the 'Rough Guide to Italy', so we won't be lingering here!

Giro d’Italia 2007 – Day 2: Stage 1, Caprera – La Maddalena (Team TT)

It's now 19.45 on Saturday evening, and we're sat in the car en route La Maddalena listening to The Pioneers, 'Let your yeah be yeah' - crucial, John. The ferry port at Maddalena is grid-locked, but we've got our reggae and a cold Dreher beer, so waiting for the ferry isn't so bad. We shared the ferry out with CSC and Saunier, but they are long-gone on the first ferry out. It's been a cracking day, weather and gig-wise.

Liquigas in pink: First Gasparotto, then Di Luca, then Gasparotto again

The "Green Machine" took first place in last Saturday's team time trial that opened the 90th edition of the pink race. The first to cross the finish line in La Maddalena was the ex-Italian National Champion Enrico Gasparotto who took an unexpected pink jersey.

At Random

Neil Fachie – “When you’re involved in Paralympic Sport, it’s hard not to be inspired”

No appraisal of Scotland’s cycling medal hopes for the 2018 Commonwealth Games would be complete without speaking to multiple Commonwealth, Worlds and Olympic visually impaired tandem champion, Neil Fachie. Here’s what the man had to say to VeloVeritas, recently:

Ian Field: This is a Hard Game

Hey everyone, Ian Field here - it's great to be here on VeloVeritas! Well, after a really good opening race to the season recently it was always going to be difficult to back it up seven days later - and so it proved.

And Now (No And Then) – Dude Where’s My Car?

And Now ... I love that scene from Dude Where’s My Car? So here we sit: Rest Day 2 already! And yet it feels like forever since the Tour started. Weird stuff happens to sports fans in July. The last few days of racing have been typically explosive, with Cav making it 19 TdF career stage wins (good grief the man can find the finish line) yesterday...

VeloVeritas at the Het Nieuwsblad 2011

The issue of weather for Het Nieuwsblad 2011 (or Gent - Gent as the locals still call it) is a dichotomy: if it's wet it's a proper man's race but you get frozen and soaked whilst spectating; but if it's a nice day and you're not near-death when you stumble into your favourite bar to watch the finale then you end up watching 100-plus riders contesting the finish.

British Time Trial Championships 2013 – So Near Yet So Far

Some folks say that last is the worst place to finish in a bike race, others say second place is the heart-breaker. For me it would be fourth place - so near to a medal but so far. And fourth spot was where our boy Douglas Dewey finished in the British Time Trial Championships 2013 at Stewarton on Thursday night.

Gary Wiggins – a Legend with a Tragic End

The late Gary Wiggins’ sister Glenda Hughes, took to social media recently to remind us that some 13 years have passed since the big Australian died under mysterious circumstances. Wiggins had many sides – depending on how you knew him – which prompted us to re-run our review of his European glory to tragic end.