Thursday, April 18, 2024

Giro d’Italia 2009 – Day 1: Stage 15, Forlì – Faenza


HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia 2009 - Day 1: Stage 15, Forlì - Faenza

Coming down the stairs at 05:00 am to the find the car had been broken into wasn’t a good start to the day.

But that’s life.

The M8, M77, Prestwick, Ryanair and here we are; in the 37 degree heat of Bologna, heading south to Faenza and our credentials.

Mile after mile of vines in this part of the world.

Getting the ‘creds’ is always a big relief; there’s usually hassle to get them; it’s always nice to feel those bits of plastic around your neck.

Ed studies the Gazetta form guide.

I love the Gazzetta Sportiva (as it is on Sundays); their layout is great, lots of colour photos, interviews, stats and ratings – attractive and easy to take in.

Gerrans effort yesterday got him an 8 out of 10, whilst Simoni scored a measly 4 as the Gazzetta noted; “Simoni, I’ll tempo passa” – ‘his time is past,’ we think?

The list of 180 corridori di 22 squadre still contains seven British riders: Chris Froome (Barloworld), Dan Lloyd and Jez Hunt (Cervelo), Bradley Wiggins and David Millar (Garmin), Charly Wegelius (Silence-Lotto) and Ben Swift (Katyusha).

Only ‘Cav’ has bolted – but how is David Millar going to ride that nocturne in Edinburgh on Saturday night, if he’s here?

This way to Faenza.

The road south from Bergamo to our digs in Fano, by way of the stage finish and Stampa (press room) in Faenza is pan flat, with long straights.

A few K to our left is the Adriatic and to our right is Italy’s ‘spine’ of mountains – the further south you go, the hotter it gets.

We put together a wee intro article on the way down, just to warm us up for tomorrow’s real thing, that was molto pronto – it’s good to be in back in business.

This way to the Permanence, where our lovely creds await.

Faenza and creds time, no dramas, it’s a miracle; maybe it’s because the stampa was in a chapel?

We were a tad miffed that we were only given one race manual; ironic, because last year they dumped hundreds of them in the street at the start of the final time trial.

Duly credded, there was only one thing to do – find a bar.

Dave gets his “access all areas” pass.

The TV was tuned to RAI, the beer was cool, the perfect coffee came from a Faema machine, sponsors of Eddy Merckx back in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

The best coffee machine in the world!

The finale was good to watch, but we couldn’t understand why Pauwels (Cérvelo) dropped back from being up the road with Bertagnolli (Diquigiovanni) – especially when he easily won the sprint for second from the little group he ended up in.

It looked like a deal to us – but that’s bike racing!

Diquigiovanni are doing the business here, that’s their second stage win and Rubens Bertogliati was in the break all day, yesterday – ending up second.

Leonardo Bertagnolli takes another stage for Diquigiovanni. Photo©Bettini

We high tailed it out of Faenza immediately after we saw the maglia rosa group finish, – we didn’t want caught in the traffic jams.

But the satnav had a bad turn and we ended up on a wee road that was once connected to the autostrada – but not now!

We’re back on course again, headed south for Fano, our digs, a shower and a pizza.

Garzelli’s bike gets a hurl up the road (not Dave Millar style though!)

Ale lives there so we’ll be meeting him, no doubt to talk tactics for tomorrow.

Liquigas head south, a bit faster than us.

To make the trip more interesting, we have team cars whizzing past us – Liquigas, QuickStep, Lampre, Columbia, Acqua & Sapone; tired riders are sprawled in the seats, thinking about a shower and a massage.

Well, nearly at our junction – need to navigate… a domani e ciao, ciao!