The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglay,” Rabbie Burns must have had a premonition about the Giro when he wrote that. It should have been a short hop over the Pordoi Pass from the digs to the start at Arabba on this stage to Marmolada. The jobsworth policeman at the top of the Pordoi settled our hash though; “No, you stop now, road closed, no journalists, only team cars!“:  Aye, cheers pal, you’ll soon get that job you want in the riot squad, bludgeoning students. Sorry…, I was ranting, wasn’t I?

We had to turn the little Matiz around and head back down the Pordoi to take route B to Arabba, via three alternative mountain passes.

We would have managed the whole route if our pal at the Pordoi hadn’t stopped us and caused us to drop that time, but we got stopped again with five to go on the Marmalada – we set off to walk the last to the top, but there just wasn’t enough time.

It’s like that addage your old journeyman used to quote; “An hour in the morning is worth two in the afternoon!”

Pozzovivo road a stellar stage today.
The Giau Mountains.

The scenery in the Dolomites is – to use an over worked word – stunning.

Everywhere you look there are mountains and rock formations of such diverse shapes and colours that you can only stare in wonder.

Apparently the Dolomites were ancient coral reefs, thrust high, way back in time and leaving the ‘saw tooth’ profiles which now leave you gasping.

Ricco road like a challenger again today.
Spanish champ Rodriguez had a better day today.

There perhaps aren’t as many fans out as one might expect, but there are still healthy crowds on the finish climbs.

Bosisio lost his jersey after 1 day.

Contador taking the jersey won’t have helped audiences, Italians like Italians winning!

Brad rides to finish 35 minutes behind Serra – there’s 2 more time trial to come, but perhaps only next Sunday’s parcours suits him. We wonder whether Brad still believes he’s a future Tour winner…

I said the minute I heard that ‘Bert’ (as team mechanic and VeloVeritas pal Alan Buttler calls him) was riding, that he’d win – there’s no one will drop him by a significant margin on the climbs and he can time trial with the best.

Bert rode sensibly and looked well within his limits most of the time.

I’d like an Italian winner, Di Luca, Riccò or preferably Simoni – he’s so eccentric – but I honestly can’t see ‘Bert’ losing it now.

Kloden folded today, I think the German could still win the Tour one day, but he hasn’t many chances left. He’s still super classy – not today though. Andreas’s bad day is more good news for ‘Bert’ – there’s no conflict of interests now.

The Pordoi Pass.

Over the last few days we’ve become big Bruseghin fans, he’s such a ‘bear’ and his fans are all deranged. The donkey is his mascot, his fans have posters and pictures of the long eared, stubborn critters everywhere.

Dave resists the temptation to swap something for a Bruz hat…. for now.

I dare say we’ll have ‘Bruz’ hats, complete with donkey ears, by the time we go home.

One of Bruz’s deranged fans, dressed in priests gear today, ‘blessing’ all and sundry. Like Dave said; “I’m no’ sure that boy is a real priest!”

Another party piece from his fans is the “donkey cry” air horn – wonderful!

Dave rides along in the autobus.

We think that Bruz’s fans would even make it to the top echelon of demented fans in the world centre for crazed supporters – Flanders.

The autobus.

It’s 8.36 pm and Dave has just taken us over the summit of the Marmolada en route our hotel.

We didn’t see this part of the route today due to the closure, but if I tell you that Dave had to take the car down to first gear at one stage, then I think you’ll get the picture on the gradients.

The descent of the Pordoi – gives you an idea of the gradient around here.

The scenery up here is even more awe inspiring, whole mountain sides look like melted candle wax and the huge rock domes and stumps remind me of Ansel Adam’s pictures of Yosemite National Park in the States.

The digs aren’t too far away now and I can almost smell our pizzas.

Feeding time.
Sella – 2 in a row: great stuff, or too good to be true?

Plan de Corones tomorrow, can Sella make it three? I don’t think so, Contador is my tip.

Ciao, ciao!

The Pink Devil!