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Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 9: San Giorgio nel Sannio – Frosinone 171km. Pippo causa una caduta!


The crash in Frosinone – was it Pippo’s fault, then? I ask Al – Dave and I not having the benefit of action replays.

“Yeah, he was all wrong, but he put his hands up for it and said as much when they asked him what happened. He hit Goss and then they all changed their line as they came into the bend, trying to get around and the riders behind sort of panicked. Cav went to the right and hit the barrier.”

The fans amp up the atmosphere.

It looked to us like Cav and Goss were out of it anyway; there were a lot of riders round that wild bend before we saw Matt on the deck and Pippo looking a tad sheepish as he stood in the road checking to see how that nice Cipollini frame had stood up to being dropped.

Pippo gets to the finish, tail firmly between his legs.

Sprinters’ stage finales are wild affairs.

The motorbikes and cars scream in, lights, air horns, flags, anticipation – and all of a sudden they’re on you.

Picking up the pieces.

Cornering at impossible angles, huge gears, faces screwed up in pain – the lead out men, the GC guys trying to keep out of trouble and miss any late splits.

And the ‘crazies’ – the fastest men alive.

Ventoso was best of them, today – a worthy winner.

The riders – including Ryder – who did make it round that last bend hammer to the line.

Hesjedal surprised us, right there, among the madness – but he stayed upright and another gorgeous maglia rosa will be draped over his hotel room chair back, tonight.

Matt Goss kept his red jersey but will be hurting after that crash.

The Sky boys morale took a bit of a slap, Kennaugh swore as he freewheeled in – they rode hard today for nada.

Peter minds his F’s and C’s.

It’s wearing on for 19:00 and we’re en route Civitavecchia where tomorrow’s stage 3* stage ten to Assisi will start.

We slept like logs last night – the grappa helped.

The digs were really nice and so were our hosts.

The lady of the Villa Euchelia told us that the house was the German HQ during the war – I’m glad I didn’t live in those times.

The drive up to Frosinone was uneventful and Frosinone unspectacular.

The locals celebrate the race coming to town.

Apparently it was once beautiful, but allied bombing raids during World War Two destroyed all of the historic buildings and just about all else.

The town isn’t the bonniest, but the church is a curvaceous gem amongst the bleakness of too many straight lines.

Getting our creds today was blissfully simple, even if it wasn’t really a smiley ‘stampa.’

Apart from one joint where we were charged seven euros for two beers, it’s a cheap part of the world.

Coffee and beer are one euro each, so is a small pizza bread.

A patriotic chain.

Dave and I have been to Civatavecchia before, it’s the sea port for Rome – and where we landed from the Sardinia ferry a year or two ago, in the Giro.

Most of the words are written for today and the pics are in the laptop – just that final edit and send to do.

Wish us luck.

Well done to Ryder, another day in pink.
Until tomorrow.
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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