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HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia 2009 - Day 8: Stage 21, Roma

Giro d’Italia 2009 – Day 8: Stage 21, Roma

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“Super Grinta,” Denis, Roma and Ignatas Konovalovas.

That was what the Gazzetta said about Danilo after the Vesuvio stage; “grinta” is the quality of physical and mental toughness that the true greats have – “Super Grinta” – great expression.

Roma
Slick cobbles made for an interesting day!

And now it’s 09:55, Ciampino Airport, Rome on Monday.

The hire car is gone, we’re in the departure lounge – and it’s all over.

Roma
Rain equals bar.

I think it’s perhaps the best of the eight Grand Tours I’ve done; maybe the UCI and Tour de France don’t think much of Danilo Di Luca, but the Italian public loves him.

He made this a Giro exciting and memorable, a real bike race; not a procession with riders frightened to loose their GC placings.

Roma
‘The Killer’ did his best to spook Menchov early doors.
Roma
Di Luca took the second place graciously.

Di Luca has a bit of ‘previous’ – but who doesn’t at the top level, in this sport? As long as he’s clean now, let him get on with his racing.

Roma
Is Mario following us?

The final time trial could have been a damp squib; the course was crazy – far from pan flat, mostly cobbled and like a skating rink during the frequent showers.

Roma
Historic ruins are everywhere in this city.

But the backdrop of Roma was spectacular and Menchov’s crash made it so dramatic.

Our angle was, “come to the chrono in Rome with VeloVeritas” – not just the race, but the course, the sights, a bit of gossip.

We had a great – if long – day in Rome.

Roma
The beautiful Colosseum.

The race security was dire, folks just hauled barriers open and wandered across the road, not bothering to slide them back into place and leaving them jutting in to the road.

Roma
The diners barely look up from their pasta as Rabo warm up.

Many of the spectators were tourists, not aficionados, no-one had a watch – at the Tour, old guys wander up to you with their fob watches and compare their timing with you.

I love the Gazzetta’s race coverage but one thing they don’t do – L’Equipe does for the Tour – is to publish a full start list. At le Tour, every second spectateur has their start sheet, torn from L’Equipe.

The Gazzetta’s pictures of Menchov’s brush with the cobble sets are great; his mechanic gets compared to a Formula One mechanic.