Wednesday, October 27, 2021
HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia 2009 - Day 4: Stage 17, Chieti - Blockhaus

Giro d’Italia 2009 – Day 4: Stage 17, Chieti – Blockhaus

-

I woke with a start, in the middle of the night, damn! I thought, things I should have mentioned, in the diary – Blockhaus; today’s mega climb, we caught sight of it yesterday morning as we hurtled down the Autostrada.

Blockhaus
Look who we bumped into!

The computer was reading 30+ degrees, the road was gently rolling along, parallel to the Adriatic and in front of us was this huge mass of snow covered rock – awe inspiring, but with too much heat haze to photograph, we’ll get a close look today.

And I should also have mentioned – Cipo; he strode into the hotel lobby, just off his bike, tall, slim, tanned and looking very fit – I do have concerns however, that he shaves his chest.

It’s 09:15 and we have a new chum, Luciano Rabottini; we stopped to have a look at his bike shop, he spotted my six day shirt and next thing he was giving us his palmarès.

Blockhaus
Maurizio hangs out with the VeloVeritas boys.

He’s worn well and doesn’t look that different from when he was burning up the tar in Tirreno-Adriatico.

The start town of Chieti was nice and we enjoyed a beer and a cappuccino in the Caffe Vittoria before falling for the charms of the lovely punting the “100 Years of the Giro” books – 15 euros each.

The opening kilometres of the stage were pan flat and horrible, urban clutter for kilometre after kilometre – the calm before the storm.

In fairness to the Giro organisers, they were probably giving the riders time to warm up legs which were still a little stiff after the rest day.

Not far inland, the lie of the land changed and we were in wine country; rolling hills covered with vines.

Suffice to say that Blockhaus is a long, hard, brutal climb.

Blockhaus
Carlos and Lance battle their way up.

The speed the pros race these climbs at beggars belief, we watched a decent part of the stage on the big screen and it’s hard to believe that the climb they’re revving up, is the same one we just saw people reduced to walking up.

Blockhaus
Biblione – the dolphin.

The weather at the top was cool, it’s not often that I welcome the temperature dropping, but it was nice not to be sweltering, today.

When we left the press room, the air was sweet and cool, with the birds singing – when we went in to the press room, the noise was deafening with the air full of exhaust fumes from the motorbikes and team cars.

Blockhaus
Today’s Press Room!

It’s now 20:40 local time and we’re free wheeling off the mountain – free wheeling because the petrol warning light is on and we’re saving gas – the smell of frying brake pads is lovely.

Like I’ve said before, it’s a glamorous life on the Grand Tours.

The day is saved, we found an automat petrol pump!

Tomorrow’s stage (18) is the sprinter’s last chance; Sulmona to Benevento, 182 kilometres.

Blockhaus
Even the graffiti artists are into the race.

Our digs are in Sulmona, we’re not complaining about that.

Another good day of racing, today; we just hope that there’s nothing in the rumours starting to bubble about Menchov and his possible involvement in…

No, let’s not go there.

Lets just say; “Forza Danilo !” and buona notte.

Blockhaus
uh oh…
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

Phil Edwards

It was Phil Edwards’ friend and former team mate back in their amateur days, respected cycling photographer John Pierce who broke the sad news to us that the big man from Bristol, who won both the British Junior and Professional Road race Championships and was right hand man to Italian ‘campionissimo’ Francesco Moser at ‘super squadra’ Sanson for five seasons had died of a suspected heart attack at his home in Monaco on Sunday, April 23rd aged 67 – he was born 03:09:1949. Phil Edwards, British Champion, Olympian, respected member of an elite peloton, successful businessman and gentleman, rest in peace.

Giro d’Italia 2016 – Stages 19, 20 and 21; Kruijswijk’s Crash, and Nibali’s Resurgence

Kruijswijk's crash, would you have waited? Wee Esteban says: "I’m very sorry for the crash of Steven (Kruijswijk), unfortunately it’s a part of bike racing and he was unlucky today." Either way, it was a horrible crash - the Dutchman seemed paralysed with fear, it didn't look like he even tried to steer round that bend. Ed rounds up the last three stages roadside.

Giro d’Italia 2016 – Stages 17 & 18; Roger Kluge and Matteo Trentin Take the Wins

It looked like Pippo was going to send Italia into raptures on Wednesday's Stage 17 - but big, bad Six Day man and omnium specialist, Roger Kluge (IAM & Germany) spoiled the dream, jumping early from an uncontrolled peloton to take a beautiful stage win. IAM are folding at the end of this year but Rodge will have no bother finding a contract. With so many of the big sprinters gone - Kittel, Greipel, Demare, Ewan, Mezgec and Viviani - there was no one capable or willing to control the last kilometre except Lampre for Modolo and/or Trek for Nizzolo.

Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 4: Verona TTT 32.2km. Garmin’s Day

A sore one for Phinney at the Verona TTT - he's conducted himself well, but once those cycling Gods single you out, they don't let go, easily. He struggled on the climb and then overcooked it on a left-hand bend, there'll be pics everywhere tomorrow of that grass sprouting from his rear mech.

Giro d’Italia 2016 – Stage 16; Not a good day for Esteban Chaves

It wasn't a good day for Chaves on Tuesday's Stage 16, he lost time to Kruijswijk and Valverde. With three minutes in hand over the Colombian, the Dutchman is going to take a bit of shifting; and there's a danger that Valverde might leapfrog Chaves, too - he's now just 23 seconds in arrears. Nibali lost time, too.

Giro d’Italia 2011, Stage 9: Messina – Etna 169km

'Tutti per Vincenzo' said the Gazzetta, on Sunday. 'All for Vincenzo' - but that little blighter from Madrid put paid to that. We got the benefit from the mad breenge after Saturday's stage - the Messina start was just five minutes from the hotel and it gave us time to have a wee skek at the porto, before we headed to Etna.

At Random

John Woodburn

John Woodburn passed away quietly in his sleep on Good Friday at 80 years-of-age. His career was a remarkable one; he won the British 25 Mile Time Trial Championship in 1961; the first to do so on a geared bike, before that the championship had been the preserve of high revving, fixed wheel pursuit riders. Woodburn loved riding a bike and racing and at 70 he could still return 21:48 for a 10 mile time trial, and in July 2002, he broke the 50 mile time-trial National Age Record for over 65s with a 1:47:40 ride, breaking the record by nearly three minutes.

The VeloVeritas Years – 2015: Un Grande Giorno sulla il Colle Delle Finestre!

Sometimes on the big tours you have to change plans; road closures, janitors, barrier crews, motorway crashes can all influence your 'best laid plans.' At the end of the day you may not have missed deadline - we rarely do - but there'll be that feeling that you could have done better. Then there are days when you have to struggle then struggle some more but eventually it comes together, you get to where you want to be and get those special pictures.

Jordan Kerby – Australian U23 Road Champion

The work ethic it takes to be reach and remain on the Australian National Squad is well known to the ‘Euros.’ The latest young man to take note of is Queenslander, Jordan Kerby; in his short career he’s achieved much – including two world titles. VeloVeritas spoke to the 20 year-old as his career began with Danish Continental squad Christina Watches-Onfone.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012 – Day Six, and it’s Peter Schep on top

Peter Schep / Wim Stroetinga win, Franco and Mouris second, Stam/Havik third - a result which everyone is pretty happy with. The Dutch winners are the classic Six Day combo - big, strong, mature, silky smooth Peter Schep and the younger, smaller, more erratic but rapid Stroetinga.

A Lotto Lottery Ticket?

Lotto Lottery Ticket... There are three definite bunch sprints forthcoming in the Tour: the traditional Champs Elysee final stage, and the stages directly before and after the Alps. Today's relatively short stage may also be a bunchie. It's a very lumpy part of the world: virtually no flat, and no straight stretches of road make it an exhausting, but beautiful, area to drive through (let alone ride).

Peter Doyle – 1974 Rás Tailteann Winner

We spoke to Peter Doyle recently, the man from Wicklow who won just about everything there was to win at home, the Shay Elliott Memorial, the National Championship, the Tour of Ireland, the Rás and a raft of other single day and stage races.