Buon giorno di Legnano!
Another German stage win and the Gazzetta front page says – “three days of truth waiting to attack Contador” – old Jens doesn’t get so much as a mention until the fourth page of Giro reports, deep in the paper – like I said yesterday, the Italians just love the Germans winning their tappas…
Contador is given a 55% chance of final overall victory, Ricco 20% and Simoni 20%. There are 480.0 kilometres left to decide the race, of which 28.5 K is against the watch. Today’s stage is 228 K with three GP Montagna, including a mountain top finish; it could be a seven hours job.
If you’ve read yesterday’s offering from us you’ll know that we bumped into Stefano Barzaghi, graphic artist to the stars at the Liquigas bus – check his site www.barzadesign.it.
It’s 09.15 and we’re on the autostrada tailing the F des J team car to the start, the traffic in Italy is simply the worst; it’s well-nigh impossible to schedule journey times, on the transfer day our average speed was 40 kph.
It’s 12.20 now and what was I just saying?
We’re on the autostrada for Brescia, we’ve just come through the mother and father of all traffic jams. One of those big truck and trailer combos has just cowped, scattering scrap metal across three lanes – messy!
We got in a good wee bit of work at the Legnano start, it’s on Pez today, we had interviews with Geraint Thomas, Cav, Charly Wegelius, Adam Hansen, Claudio Corti, Phillip Deignan and Giovanni Savio – Simoni’s DS.
Geraint is a good guy to talk to, he looks you in the eye and isn’t averse to the odd bit of spicey language to make his point.
Come the Olympics, him, Brad and Steve Cummings will all have dragged themselves round this Giro – no other team pursuit squad is going to have background like that.
Cav has his feet on the ground too, despite his space shuttle like rise to fame. He’s a likeable little fellow and the stage wins here place him in the absolute top drawer.
Charly Wegelius is the ‘forgotten man’ of British cycling, year in, year out, he gets contracts with the very best teams in the world. I once asked him, how he would describe himself as a rider; “Somebody who is paid to do a job and can be relied upon to go out and do it.” He’s very popular in Italy and is constantly being wished well; the old lady who was the desk clerk at our hotel in Verbania told us that she; “likes Charlee very much!”
Big Hansen is cool, with the trendy facial hair and jewellery, but like most Aussies he’s very down to earth and easy to talk to.
Claudio Corti is ‘jack the lad,’ but good for a quote; he was a talented pro in his day – second to Claude Criquelion in the Worlds at Barcelona in ’84.
Phillip Deignan is a good looking boy, with a great smile and a personality to match – he reminded us of Stephen Roche’s brother, Laurence who was a pro for Carrera in the late 80’s.
Savio is ‘Gibo’s’ DS: dapper and with good English – like most of these guys, if you’re polite and sensible, they’ll take time to talk to you.
To use a journalistic device – “fast forward to 8.55 pm” and we’re still in the press room. The ‘net went down and just as we were fixing to bolt and send the pics from the hotel, they got it fixed, it was down for ages, we should be long gone, but we’re still sat here, attaching pictures – it’s a glamorous life on the Giro!
We’ve got a one hour drive to the hotel, but hey! that’s show biz!
Di Luca was impressive today, when you’re roadside you’re not fully sussed as to what’s going on out on the the road and it was an email which I received from Richard on the BlackBerry that clued us that Di Luca was on an ‘adventure.’ I think I said it on Pez, but The Killer was riding visibly faster than anyone else at that summit – he was great to watch.
Savoldelli is a local, he comes from Bergamo and there were a lot of “Falco” posters to be seen today. It would have been great to see him with Di Luca, but fairy tales are scarce in the world of pro cycling – still, he did a great job for Bettini and between them they’ve reignited this Giro. I don’t think that the Gazzetta will still have Bert on a 55% chance of winning, tomorrow.
The autobus was out there for seven-and-a-quarter hours today. We caught sight of Adam, briefly after the finish; at the start this morning I was telling him how well he looked – at the end, he looked about 40 years-old!
I mentioned it briefly on Pez, but the way the fans react here really is dangerous. Once the leaders are past, then a mass exodus starts, cyclists by the hundred take to the road, well before the autobus has passed. It strikes us that it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Anyway, last pics nearly done, so as we say in Bowhill; Ciao, ciao!