“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.