If you’re working the race it’s really hard to see a stage finish – the best spots get grabbed hours before.
The answer is to find a good bar with a big tele, order a beer and enjoy the racing.
That’s what we did today, we were at the start then on the big climb and that was about all we could cram in.
The traffic around Milan/Como/Lugano is absolutely horrible and to get from points A to B takes forever.
There was no way we could make the finish, so a bar it was – on lovely Lake Como side, Bellana with cool beer and a nice TV.
This has been Sacha Modolo’s breakthrough race; it was 2010 when he grabbed fourth place in Milano-Sanremo as a neo pro – since then there have been wins but two Grand Tour stages are confirmation, he’s no longer a second string sprinter, he’s Big League.
In Ferrari and Richeze he has two very fast – but not Bouhani/Cav/Kittel quick – men who, have taken to the role of ‘pilot fish’ with aplomb.
Ferrari in particular is fearless and with Richeze, Modolo has a great ultimo kilometro squadra.
And a great Giro for Lampre; now on four stage wins.
We stayed up in Aprica last night, in the same digs as CCC – VeloVeritas‘s East European expert, Ivan would have been in clover.
CCC is ‘only’ Pro Continental but is very well presented, just about everything is orange and/or black.
The stage start was in Tirano where we headed to get some pre-race ‘sound bites.’
En route we spied Garmin-Cannondale’s DS Charly Wegelius, one of the ‘good guys.’
Polite, approachable, grounded and with a good line in humour.
It was an ‘off the record’ chat but when we asked him if the new Twitter/Facebook/bearded generation of pros ‘live the life’ of a professional rider, he told us;
“Some think they do but they don’t – when ex-pros like me explain things to them they think we’re being old fashioned.
“But the same rules still apply; train lots, sleep well, eat well – but stay skinny.”
When you’ve not been to a Giro partenza for a while, you forget how noisy it all is – the kids, the dancers, the speaker, the band…
And there was a guy there demonstrating wooden bikes – I don’t think they’d be the answer in damp old Scotia.
In GB we have Wiggo’s personal photographer who’s trying to be a Paul Weller tribute act.
In stylish Italia you’d think the photogs would maybe go for a Giorgio Armani look – or maybe to emulate a famous sportsman.
The entrance to the sign on is a cool place to lurk for pictures, every rider will have to pass, sooner or later – from Trek’s Marco Coledan last @ 4:31:53 (which is a whole stage down) to the Capo himself.
Contador isn’t a big man but he has aura and presence which perhaps doesn’t manifest itself in the magazines or TV; but when you’re near him, there’s an air of respect and reverence around with the young pros – no one invades Alberto’s space.
Next up we headed up on to the Teglio climb, ‘only’ third cat but a beast of a thing.
Six Day star, Iljo Keisse was with Italians Berlato and Bandiera – with Uran’s race well and truly sunk the sponsors will want to see some sort of show…
We’d learn later that Iljo & Co. stayed clear until 30 K to. – so not a bad effort.
When we entered our wee bar it was Lotto’s Adam Hansen on the promised solo mission but with Mezgec, Nizzolo, Viviani and Modolo still there in the peloton he was always doomed.
Paolini tried a late flyer but when those sprinters are hungry…
We’re in Suisse tonight, be nice to bump into some FiFA boys needing some good press – but we’d be above that…
How much did you say, pal?