Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Giro d’Italia 2009 – Day 7: Stage 20, Napoli – Anagni


HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia 2009 - Day 7: Stage 20, Napoli - Anagni

How is it that a country which spawned Campag, Ducati, Ferrari and Armani can’t get the plumbing to work?

Last night’s hotel had the electrical switch for the shower just a couple of inches from the shower head; the difference between being scalded and freezing was two microns on the control.

Giro d'Italia Napoli
Cheerio Napoli – we won’t be hurrying back. Photo©Ed Hood
Giro d'Italia Napoli
Dave gets interviewed by the Ozcycling boys. Photo©Ed Hood

The people are so friendly here in Naples; the boy in the toll booth last night gave us a row for not having the €1:60 ready – we should have known it was a pre-pay toll.

The roads are horrific, a lot of them are concrete, which has split and potholed – dire.

Giro d'Italia Napoli
This is the view from our luxury apartment! Photo©Ed Hood

And on top of all the that, the pen I bought yesterday doesn’t work – surprising that – and breakfast was grim.

We’ve just been through a tunnel, on our way to the start; Dave reckons that was the nicest part of Naples we’ve seen.

Giro d'Italia Napoli
Gianni Savio, media-friendly Diquigiovanni DS. Photo©Ed Hood

La Gazzetta never let’s us down, though; there’s a huge amount about yesterday’s stage; Carlos gets a 9 out of 10.

Today, we decided to “go people” – we interviewed about a dozen riders, managers and a certain Oleg Tinkov, before the start on the sea front in Naples.

Giro d'Italia Napoli
Oleg Tinkov calls the minders off Ed, then messes about for his camera. Photo©Ed Hood

I spotted Mr. Tinkov and shot across the road for a word, I was a few words into my introduction; “you probably won’t remember me but...” when two handsome, fit looking dudes appeared from nowhere; I noticed a little gesture from the Boss – two fingers onto one of the minder’s forearms; I was OK.

However, if I can give you a piece of advice, don’t mess with Mr. Tinkov!

Having said that, he was as charismatic as I remembered, chatty and good fun, clowning around for the camera.

Giro d'Italia Napoli
Ian Stannard. Photo©Ed Hood

Our ‘sound bites’ worked well and reminded us that pros are generally a pretty sound, approachable group of people.

Giro d'Italia Napoli
Edvald Boasson-Hagen is very quiet but still chatted away to us just fine. Photo©Ed Hood

As soon as we did the business, we were out of there – Naples is not a place that either of us would like to re-visit.

Giro d'Italia Napoli
Ben Swift is justifying his new Pro contract in spades. Photo©Ed Hood

I wrote up the bulk of the article en route to the finish with Dave still cursing Naples, it’s roads, it’s architecture and horrible karma.

Anagni was the stage finish town and we decided to do another piece (as yet unwritten, the need for pizza was too great!) about our day, and the finish in particular.

It was good to be fans, hanging over the barrier and we enjoyed the fact that there was a finishing circuit – 18 kilometres.

Giro d'Italia Napoli
Erik might as well win, but not this race. Photo©Ed Hood

It was a tough finish; a two kilometre drag to the line. On the first ascent, it was split but we felt it might well be a bunch gallop.

Philippe Gilbert thought otherwise and pulled the fat out of the fire at the 59th minute of the eleventh hour, to save Silence-Lottos Giro and win his first race of the year.

An event his sponsors will be happy about, but might just think is a tad over due?

Giro d'Italia Napoli
Philippe Gilbert kicks whilst Thomas Voeckler appears to have resigned himself to 2nd. Photo©Ed Hood

As Allan Peiper said in his book; “when you sign for a new team on big wages, it’s not the races that you’ve already win that they’re paying you for – it’s the races they expect you to win!

Giro d'Italia Napoli
Charly Wegelius has had a quiet Giro, but his target is a month from now. Photo©Ed Hood

The drive to digs was short and relaxing, our hosts friendly and happy to give us access to their modem – deep joy!

Giro d'Italia Napoli
Mario, in civvies this time. Photo©Ed Hood

The pizza was braw, the wee bar where we had our nightcap was sound and here we are in our quiet, clean digs – Roma tomorrow.

Reality on Monday, best make the most of that time trial in the Eternal City.

A domani!