Monday, September 27, 2021
HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia 2009 - Day 6: Stage 19, Avellino - Vesuvio

Giro d’Italia 2009 – Day 6: Stage 19, Avellino – Vesuvio

-

It’s 12.25 and we’re headed for a road that the men’s lifestyle and driving mags rave about; The Amalfi Coast.

Vesuvio
Salerno.

Amalfi, Porto Fino, Sorrento – playgrounds of the rich and famous.

Vesuvio
The Amalfi coastline – just stunning.
Vesuvio
Exoctic plants like the lava rock.

The stage today is the last big bare knuckle battle; Di Luca’s last chance to unseat Menchov.

Vesuvio
It wouldn’t be a grand tour without a protest.
Vesuvio
Avellino.

>> FAST FORWARD >>

And here we are; 21:47 in the bar of the Hotel Ideal in Naples, sending our pics for the day.

I spent an age this afternoon cursing my own lack of computer literacy and my old Sharp laptop whilst trying to get my 18 euro connection to the press room wi-fi

Eventually I ‘asked the boy’ – “there is no eeenter-net, thee systeem ees down.”

Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

I was close to a rant, we phoned the Hotel Ideal, “yes, we have wireless in the bar.” Sounded good to us!

The Amalfi was beautiful, spectacular, it would be best to spend a couple of days there, take it all in.

Vesuvio
Amalfi…

A couple of minutes would do for Naples; we’d heard that it wasn’t braw, but we were unprepared for just how unbraw it was.

Vesuvio
…Napoli.

Around the corner from where we are, the prostitutes are lined up, the drug dealers stalk and street traders lay out second hand clothes – and rake skips – it’s like a Third World city.

The view from the hotel balcony is cool if you’re into construction, depressing if you’re not.

The traffic is horrific, it took an age to get off Vesuvio and down to the digs – and it doesn’t stop; there’s been a wall of noise out there, all night.

The Amalfi was glorious and the road along past Sorrento was nice; but once we arrived in Torre – part of Greater Naples, things went downhill, rapid!

The roads were terrible, the fans were not to be messed with and the whole place looked generally run down.

The police had patently lost the plot on crowd and traffic control and we were glad to get out of the place and up on to Vesuvio.

Vesuvio
Tom Lovkvist has had a solid Giro.

It may be a hard climb, but it’s not a particularly spectacular one – due to the lay of the land, there aren’t that many great views, not from the heights we reached, anyway.

Vesuvio
Brajkovic leads Cunego.

It would be an interesting place to go, if you had time to do a little homework and scraping about – the lava flows with their wild flowers look amazing.

Vesuvio
The capo’s pretty much stuck together, despite Di Luca’s frenzied-out-the-saddle efforts.

The race didn’t go as we’d all hoped – that was Di Luca dropping Menchov – but respect to Carlos Sastre.

Di Luca has been digging deep, whilst Menchov has been solid and measuring his efforts in defence.

Vesuvio
Menchov looks to have it in the bag.

Barring accidents, acts of God (and ‘positifs’) the overall is decided.

Today is a transition stage; the parcours aren’t too dramatic but the finish is sore, too sore for the pure sprinters, they say.

Vesuvio
The grupetto, with our pal Dario at the tail.

It’s most likely to be a break today, riders who aren’t too tired and whose DS’s have coaxed or bullied them into a move.

The irony is that it will probably be one of the teams who have already won a stage and aren’t under pressure.

Today saw us achieve a mission objective; we caught up with the “colourful” character with the horned helmet, who runs up the climbs beside Lance.

Vesuvio
After chatting to us, Long Horn will be at the race tomorrow. Sorry Viktor.

When I say achieved a mission objective, maybe not quite, what Viktor briefed us on was to run the boy over; we settled for a chat, bearing in mind the defamation laws, I’ll say no more.

Except that Dave wishes to disclaim any involvement in the matter.

Nearly breakfast time, best get a shower.

Ciao, ciao.

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

Giro d’Italia 2013 – Rest Day 1: Roundup of the Last Few Days

The Giro d'Italia – if it ended right now it would have been great, aggressive race, but the fact is that there are still two full weeks to go. I did a race preview for, ‘a well known North American website’ so thought I’d take a rest day wander back and see how my tips for the top are doing...

Giro d’Italia – Day 7: Stage 18, Mendrisio – Varese

Today we were in Mendrisio but we belled Viktor from Verbania last night... We were feeling quite mellow; words and pics sent, a nice plate of pasta, a glass of beer and a stroll by Maggiore in the warm air. "The only reason I watch the race is because there's nothing else on TV, those photos you take are holiday snaps, Sella looks like a schoolboy, 'certain of the GB rider's' aren't proper pros, the scenery is terrible... "

Giro d’Italia 2015 – Stage 17, Aprica – Lugano; Modolo’s Second

If you're working the race it's really hard to see a stage finish - the best spots get grabbed hours before. The answer is to find a good bar with a big tele, order a beer and enjoy the racing. That's what we did today, we were at the start then on the big climb and that was about all we could cram in. The traffic around Milan/Como/Lugano is absolutely horrible and to get from points A to B takes forever. There was no way we could make the finish, so a bar it was - on lovely Lake Como side, Bellana with cool beer and a nice TV...

Geraint Thomas – busy with “all the fast, punchy stuff”

When Taylor Phinney crossed the finish line at the end of the Giro prologue, a big sigh went up here at VeloVeritas – ‘there goes our Giro prologue winner exclusive!’ Sky's Geraint Thomas had been top of the leader board until Phinney used those amazing genes of his to great effect and the Weshman had to make do with second place.

Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 19: Treviso – Alpe di Pampeago 197km

Joaquin Rodriguez sums it all up, neatly. It was an epic stage to Alpe di Pampeago... A courageous but ultimately doomed breakaway (just don’t tell Vik I said that, Sandy Casar is number three on his hate list behind Moncoutie and Dumoulin).

Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 12: Longarone – Treviso 134km. Cavendish Reaches 100!

Mark Cavendish, there's little left to say, really. He's the best roadman sprinter in the world - and his partnership with Steegmans is developing into something special. It's not as if anyone is going to lean on Big Gert...

At Random

Davie Lines – A New Team for 2014: Starley Primal

VeloVeritas has just about caught up with merry-go-round of new teams and transfers for 2014 – and one of the rotations we noticed is that former Scottish Criterium Champion, Davie Lines moves from the baby blue of MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling to the more aggressive red and black of Starley Primal Pro Cycling. Here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas just the other day...

Le Tour de France 2007 – Day 7: Stage 17, Pau – Castelsarrasin

Pau, Thursday morning, the sun is out, so that's a good start. How do we feel? A tad flat, it has to be said, but the show must go on. Over to our left, the publicity caravan is rolling-out, headed for Castelsarrasin. It's a day for the "baroudeurs" today - the breakaway specialists. There are five fourth and one third category climbs today, so it's a hard day's work - maybe a French win? That would be nice, this Tour could do with a 'lift'. The Pez guy is out of the office today, checking-out the 2008 Look frames and bikes launch in San Jose - a dirty job, but...

La Vuelta a España, Stage 15: Barredo First to Lagos de Covadonga

Carlos Barredo's grandmother wells up, 'my God, my God' she keeps repeating as Carlos's amigo hugs her - the man himself hurtled past just seconds ago to join the immortals as a winner on the Lagos de Covadonga. They're standing beside us at the 150m to go mark, and in the mist and cloud once again, QuickStep have done the job. The break survivors limp by before a snarling Ezequiel Mosquera flashes past, intent on putting as much time into the other 'heads' as he possibly can.

Kyle Gordon – “Scottish Cycling look after me so well”

VeloVeritas caught up with Kyle Gordon on the Tuesday after his splendid 48 minute ride to the top of the Scottish 25 Mile TT Championship 2019 podium on Sunday at Forfar on a miserable but rapid morning. We chatted about his training, race plans and what it's like to be on the Scottish Cycling programme.

The New SRAM Red Groupset

SRAM brought out the new Force and Rival groupsets a while back [read our Review of the Force groupset here], and the Saunier Duval ProTour team used it on their Scott bikes to great effect last season. Now SRAM have released the SRAM Red group set and as well as Saunier Duval, the new Astana team will be using the Red group on their Trek Madone frames for the 2008 season as well. We managed to get a sneak preview and a short ride on an Astana team bike recently when they were in Spain for their first training camp.

Scott Thwaites – “My 2014 goal is that elusive first Pro win”

The last time we spoke to NetApp-Endura’s Scott Thwaites was in the spring of 2013, just after he’d finished in fifth place in the Handzame Classic and seventh spot in le Samyn – both hard races in brutal conditions. For 2014 he’s already back in the groove again with a podium place on stage one of the Three Days of West Flanders.