Thursday, June 24, 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.


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

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

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

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


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.”


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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 6; Sassano – Monte Cassino, 247 km. The Aussies Push On

Already the ‘Forum Sitters’ are telling us that it was ‘unsporting’ of Evans and Matthews to take advantage of the mayhem which again reigned on the slopes of Cassino as two simultaneous crashes brought down droves of riders when they braked into a roundabout and left a group of eight clear at the front at the very foot of the ascent to the Abbey. Evans and Matthews both had two team mates with them who rode themselves into the ground to build an advantage.

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...

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 9; Lugo – Sestola, 174 km. Pieter Weening Winning

Boring this Giro is not - Pieter Weening won ORICA-GreenEDGE's third stage of the race in a two-up sprint against Davide Malacarne (Team Europcar) both having survived from the break of the day. It took an hour of savage racing before a big break of 14 was finally allowed to go - once the correct recipe passed the test of the ‘Bigs’ dipping their finger in the mixing bowl. But there were just two left come the mountain top tactical finish where Weening was too strong for Malacarne – I did enjoy the high altitude track stand...

Giro d’Italia 2015 – Stage 16, Pinzolo – Aprica; the Mortirolo!

You forget how gruesome the climbs are here in Italy; I'd never been over the Mortirolo before but it was an eye opener - 11.9 kilometres (that's more than seven miles) with an AVERAGE gradient of just under 12% and a maximum of 18%. Lance reckoned it was the toughest climb he ever raced and 'Bert' was on 34 x 30; 'nuff said !' On most of the big climbs there are sections where it eases a little; not on this swine, it's unrelenting and unforgiving - ask Fabio Aru ...

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 2; Belfast, 218 km. Marcel Kittel a Class Apart

Cannondale, F des J, Giant, Greenedge, Sky, Trek - they all tried to take control in the finale in Belfast in Stage Two on Saturday. But none could. It's not until you see a situation like we did in Belfast that you realise just how good Mario Cipollini's Acqua Sapone and Cav's HTC trains really were. In the event, it was irrelevant; Kittel was in a different league. He was way back and would usually have been out of it but turned left, found clear road, turned on the boosters and left the others scrabbling for the placings.

Andrea Tonti – Giro Tales with Cunego and Simoni’s Domestique

Having moved from London in 2016 to Casale Volpe, a small, secluded cycling-orientated B&B in Le Marche region of Central Italy, a gloriously hot July day last summer gave VeloVeritas reader Mike Curtis the chance to meet up and ride, relax and chat over lunch with local ex-pro and gregario di lusso Andrea Tonti.