Thursday, June 24, 2021
HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia 2009 - Day 6: Stage 19, Avellino - Vesuvio

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

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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.

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