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HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia 2009 - Day 5: Stage 18, Sulmona - Benevento

Giro d’Italia 2009 – Day 5: Stage 18, Sulmona – Benevento


Ciao from Benevento!  To go in the “it’s a small world” file – when we left you last night, we’d narrowly escaped running out of gas en route Sulmona.

After a bit of messing around, we found the apartment; who answered the door?

Scott McGrory, former Six Day star – with 15 wins – and that isn’t easy in ‘the race to nowhere’.

Scott works for Fox Sports TV in Australia now and was sharing our digs.

As you can imagine, he was duly interviewed this morning.

He has a new site; – give it a skek and say that VeloVeritas sent you!

We decided that the angle today was along “Giro hits town” lines, rather than go race route or hard core race, we went “local colour”.

The three musketeers.

Sulmona is a classy, old town with up market clothes shops, book shops, Grand caffes and a long and interesting past.

The tat-guy looks a bit peed off that he’s not having much luck – yet.

I had to get up early to move the car; right outside the digs was race route, and when they say they’ll tow you – they aint messin’!

We love brass band music here at VeloVeritas.

Breakfast wasn’t until 08.30, so we headed out for a cappuccino and – La Gazzetta.

Front page – Messaggero – Abruzzo.

Franco Pellizotti’s 9 was fair enough, but Danilo on 8.5? We thought he was worth a 9.

The Humanplasma story was there; I haven’t checked, but I’d wager that the Gazzetta’s rivals will be locked on to discrediting the Russian, and, by association, the Giro and Gazzetta. The story was in plain language on the Cycling Weekly website, so it’s no longer in ‘nudge, nudge’ territory.

I hope the lid stays on; I’m not sure that I could handle another drugs drama – just so depressing.

Poster in Sulmona.

Even at 07.30, the town was buzzing; I picked up a leaflet on Ovid, the town’s most famous son. He was a poet and a bit of a ladies man – married three times – back in Roman days.

Some things never change.

Our pal Marco Pinotti.

We got loads of great shots of shops, girls, dogs, kids, walls, flowers – the Giro is still a big deal in Italy and folk do make the effort. Whilst we didn’t want to get too much into the race proper, we chatted with some of our friendly riders; Dan Lloyd, Marco Pinotti, Jez Hunt and Ian Stannard.

Dave and I always admire a man who uses his swear words with abandon and imagination – respect, Ian!

Ian Stannard has apologised to Ed for calling him a “&?!:£$ *%@#” at Milan San Remo.

As the Giro rolled off, we headed straight to Salerno to the digs. We knew they had wi-fi, so there was no point in going to the finish press room to blow 18 euros and get scowled at.

Incidentally, Scott McGrory hates the stampa too – so it’s not just us.

Ed with Dan Fleeman, well, sort of.

Our drive took us from the east coast of Italy, to the west; one imposing mountain follows another. We passed Monte Cassino again, grey and huge, it dominates the valley.

Dave and I were in Salerno for the 2007 Giro, so we knew the lie of the land.

Two pizzas, two mega Peronis and two Nitromors – or was it lemoncellos? – 18 euros; that’s our kind of pricing!

Midnight, time for sleep, Vesuvio tomorrow.

It’s very bonny around here.

Will Danilo attack – for sure!

But even if he does distance the big Russian; will he take enough time from Denis to give him a cushion for the Roma chrono?

We’ll find out tomorrow.Ciao, ciao.

Menchov – is his clock ticking, or will he get to hold onto the Maglia Rosa?
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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