Monday, June 17, 2024

Giro d’Italia 2007 – Day 1: Getting there


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We’re on the Giro d’Italia 2007… Sardinia is hot, damn hot, real hot, but our Peugeot 107 has air-con and a CD which plays John Hardie’s 70’s compilations just fine.

It’s 09.10 and we’re north-bound to catch the ferry from Palau out to the island of Maddalena, where tomorrow’s TTT takes place.

Dave is at the wheel, doing his best to coax some speed out of the little Peugeot. We arrived late last night, flying from Liverpool to Alghero in north west Sardinia.

Giro d'Italia 2007
The hill-top town of Aggius.

The B & B we stayed in was sound, and we enjoyed an al fresco breakfast before heading east and north towards Palau and the ferry.

The game plan was to drive the TTT course and preview it.

The country is green despite the heat, but jagged mountains thrust out of the earth to give saw-tooth skylines. Big flocks of sheep graze; olive groves and vineyards are well-tended – the Italian Government’s plans to drag the island into prosperity appear to be working.

Giro d'Italia 2007
It’s awfy hot here.

The roads across the plains were straight and well-surfaced but lazy-rolling trucks make for slow progress.

The driving is, as you would expect, radge. In the towns, traffic lights are few and it’s hard to imagine what you would have to do to get the police upset – Olbia, where we spent last night is just a huge dodgem track.

The TTT course is a real “test of man and machine” – not like last year, Dario Cioni (then Liquigas, now Lotto) told me that he only braked once during that entire race. This year there are all manner of climbs, dangerous descents and bends – we fancy a ‘road’ rather than one of the TTT specialist teams to win.

Giro d'Italia 2007
The lethal Bailey bridge on the TTT course – thank goodness it was dry!

It takes a 20 minute ferry trip to get to Maddalena where the race finishes.
It starts on the neighbouring island of Caprera, where Italian folk hero, Guiseppe Garibaldi spent his later years. He was born 200 years ago, hence the hassle of dragging the whole Giro across to a little island; we’d do the same for The Bruce, I guess.

After our course recce and the 20 minute ferry trip, we had to find the Giro d’Italia 2007 “Permanence“, in order to get our credentials. Finding the conference centre where this went-off was a pain but actually getting the creds was OK.

The wi-fi in the press room was grim, it went-down twice, but eventually we got the words and pics of to Vancouver.

The hotel was sound, as was the pizza place. As my tutor at college told me never to say; “we went to bed, tired but happy.”