It was nice to wake up in the shadow of the Matterhorn this morning; imposing, snow capped and stunning against a picture post card blue sky.
There’s a clue in what Contador, Aru and Landa call themselves; “professional” cyclists.
It’s a job, a commercial enterprise, a way to make money for riders, sponsors and organisers.
The way we read yesterday is that Alberto is due a big favour from Astana whilst Landa is due one from management and Aru.
Alberto is happy, he’s still going to win the Giro and absloutely nothing has changed in his world, the organisation is happy with Aru in second and Aru is happy – especially since he’s been wasted for days.
And Landa, well, he’s a professional…
And did we really need more mountains yesterday?
There was a score of guys racing yesterday, the rest were simply groveling to the finish.
Big Roger Kluge and Luka Mezgec finished @ 57:14 yesterday and only 17 riders were within five minutes of Aru at the end.
Visconti’s ride was a good one, snatching the climbers’ jersey from Kruijswijk but whether he can hang on to it today is another matter – he left an awful lot on the road, yesterday.
Aru now leads the ‘Giovani‘ (young rider) by 91 minutes from Stage Four winner, Formolo who was patently wasted, yesterday.
Astana lead the team race by 30 minutes from BMC and in the team points classification have 556 points to BMC’s 316 and Lampre Merida’s 306.
We had set up shop at around 10 K to go and had tucked in nicely on the convoy – all was going well for an early arrivo at the hotel and our dinner before 10:00 pm but the race organisation and police had different ideas and with around 1200 metres to go we got stuck in total traffic chaos.
To add insult to injury, then we couldn’t get to the hotel because it was through the finish area where the barrier crews were tearing the grandstand down.
Net result – arrival at restaurant at 10:00 after 10 rounds with a recalcitrant wi-fi system, the joys.
We started off driving the percorso today, to get to Finistre, the dirt roads and the action – but the routing crews aren’t out as early at the Giro as they are at the Tour and we gave it up as a bad job and are now on the autostrada hurtling towards Susa and the foot of the Colle delle Finestre – wish us luck!
Ed and Martin, our top team! They try to do the local Time Trials, the Grand Tours and the Classics together to get the great stories written, the quality photos taken, the driving done and the wifi wrestled with.
Viktor wouldn't like it here, the cobbles are big flat things and the locals all dress trendily - not a pair of Belgian basket weave shoes or a tank top in sight.
And the fans don't come straight up to you and ask you a string of questions, once they realise you're not a local. And wine? What the hell is that?
But it has it's compensations - hill top towns, nice weather, pretty girls, pizza... and grappa.
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 ...
I didn't manage to see stage seven to Rocca di Cambio - it fell on 'D minus one' for the VeloVeritas annual excursion to Italia. The loose ends were many and instead of having plenty of time to pack my bag and watch the Giro, I was 'running aboot daft' in the van.
And Saturday evening rituals still had to be observed - a wee bite to eat and a movie. It's not as if you can say; 'I'm off to Italy the morn love, so we're no' going out tonight - I have a bag to pack and a Giro stage to skek !'
We're in Seravezza. 'Sad news, Donna Summer has passed away' said the text from Martyn Frank. That news cast a shadow over a day of bright sunshine and hills. The start was down on the coast - it's not quite beach season, so it's not heaving yet.
One of the standout performances during the 2013 Giro was Alex Dowsett’s (Movistar & GB) winning ride in the brutal Stage Eight 55 kilometre time trial ahead of all the ‘Bigs’ - to prove categorically that there is; ‘life after Sky,’ Dowsett has shown his class over the years, shining in each level of his career.
Rest Day at the Giro d'Italia 2008... "When you hear the tootin' of the whistle, you never have to guess; it's Casey at the throttle of the Cannonball Express" - Dave and I were just debating the lyrics of the Casey Jones 60's TV programme, if anyone can give us the full lyrics, we'd be much obliged. Sorry, on long transfer drives like this, you get to talking about all sorts of things.
The Bounce. We came to this Tour with nine guys ready to race. We’re down our leader and facing some injuries, but if yesterday proved anything it’s that we’re still up for it. The day started out with a little stress, considering the injuries some of the guys were going to go over cobbles with.
The Tour of Britain's penultimate stage departed from Glasgow Green today, taking the peloton south to the beautiful setting of Drumlanrig Castle in the Southern Uplands. The Glasgow Grand Prix took advantage of the closed circuit and the watching crowds, with two events following immediately after the ToB departure.
I've arrived; Matt Gilmore said "hello" to me today here at the Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007 - wow! It's the Chocolate Jacques team presentation during the six tonight and Matt is here as part of that gig. "Rambo" is here too - Niko Eeckhout, last June in Antwerp at the Belgian elite champs he was in the break with Boonen; the Tomeke fans had their man as a cert to win.
You know you're in Belgium at the Kuurne Brussels Kuurne when the barman is Iljo Keisse's dad - and when there are posters for bike races in the loo! But I'm getting ahead of myself; "live cargo", that's how the airlines refer to their passengers. And that's how we feel: the flight is two hours late and we're sitting on the floor at Prestwick Airport, or 'Glasgow South' as Ryanair would have it, despite the fact that we're 50 kilometres from the city on the Clyde.
When Jos Ryan of the David Rayner Fund gets in touch then we know it’s not just to ask how we are. ‘Have you been keeping up with our rider, Toby Perry’s performances in Spain, he’s just had his second win?’ Fortunately for us, we could reply in the affirmative.
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