Wednesday, May 22, 2024

“Pre” – Giro Catch Up


“Pre”-Giro Catch Up End of March Tallies:

  • Countries —3 (2010 Total 6)
  • Hotel Days — 18 (Total 43)
  • Hotels —8 (Total 14)
  • Flight Distance —2935km (Total 26,193)
  • Driving Distance — 549km (Total 4269km)

End of April Tallies

  • Countries — 5 (2010 Total 8 )
  • Hotel Days — 11 (Total 54)
  • Hotels — 4 (Total 18)
  • Flight Distance — 1922km (Total 28,115)
  • Driving Distance — 2505km (Total 6774)

Back! Just a quickie before the Giro starts (well, only three days after the Giro started, but near enough).

March and April saw a nice turnaround in the fortunes of the team: only two fractured collarbones and two major concussions! MUCH less hectic! We also put in some very good results, popping up with wins in both individual stages and overall races (on one memorable day we won three times: two stages and an overall race. Very nice!). We also had some very strong showings in some of the biggest one day races on the calendar. Very nice indeed!

March also saw a grand turnaround in the life of Tobias, with the arrival of Mands to sunny Girona. Good times!

Upon hearing the grumbling from some of my co-workers as we all checked out each others’ programs for the first time back in January, I was quite looking forward to my block of races. I had Algarve in southern Portugal, L’Eroica and Tirreno-Adriatico through northern Italy (Tuscany), and Criterium International in Corsica.

Algarve was indeed warmer than the rest of Europe, and also about 0.2km per hour shy of being hurricane force. It was odd treating riders’ forearms rather than legs at the end of a day as they had been so twitchy on the brakes.

Then L’Eroica was indeed lovely weather, and very cool seeing the boys smash themselves on these tiny, at times super steep clay roads.

Catch Up
Behind the riders on Strade Bianchi.

Was cool seeing pro cyclists battling like the salmon that don’t make it up the river to spawn on some of the really steep sections, and literally dismounting and running up the hills.

Catch Up
The Hes enjoying a post-Eroica rice

Tirreno-Adriatico was back to sub arctic conditions, with a cold front actually leading to two of our staff being snowed in for 36hrs. Ridiculously bitter weather, and the riders were racing in it! Ouch.

Catch Up
World’s biggest couch at TA.

The final race of March was Criterium International, based in Corsica for the first time. Corsica’s a little island between Spain and Italy that is part of France, and the birthplace of Napoleon. It’s also surprisingly rugged, hosting some tough racing. The locals seem to have two key pastimes — protesting French sovereignty over them, and ripping off anyone who isn’t local.

Catch Up
Dan ripping along in the TT at the C.I.

The best example of the first was a car being set alight on one of the main roads of the island in protest of an election result, and of the second was the credit card machine “stopping working” when we tried to buy pizzas after the final stage for all of the team, and then we were charged a “takeaway fee” of DOUBLE the price of the pizzas we had bought. Absolute bastards. So my tip would be: Corsica’s nice, but… meh.

The other pain of the Corsica trip was that we had a double day: two stages in the one day, meaning the first stage started at the crack of dawn, allowing enough time between stages for the riders to rest, eat, clean up and prep for the afternoon hit out.

“Crack of dawn” is actually incorrect too — it was an hour BEFORE the crack of dawn as this was the weekend when all the clocks were wound forward for daylight savings. Awesome. We did score a stage win, though, so that made it all okay, and that night myself and a couple of other staff members savoured a couple of celebratory beers and some terrible food on the ferry back to the mainland prior to driving to Spain in the morning.

April saw visits from family, which was awesome, sightseeing around Girona, which I am ashamed to say I hadn’t done until the fam came, and of course more racing.

Roubaix was Roubaix, and then there was the Ardennes week — three races that loop around the few hilly parts of Holland and Belgium. Similar to Roubaix, we the road staff had a LOT to do on these days, getting ourselves to as many hilltops as we possibly could to give the boys bottles and spare wheels if needed.

Catch Up
In this instance, we felt that spare wheels were needed.

The roads are just too narrow for them to be able to get supplies from the team car, so we get ahead of the race and hand stuff out. It’s great fun fangin’ around the countryside, and a very exciting day.

We scored a second place at the Amstel Gold race, which was a fantastic result.

And there you have a Cook’s Tour of March and April. I’ll try and be more regular during the Giro, which I am at now.