Thursday, July 25, 2024

Giro d’Italia 2011, Stage 5: Piombino – Orvieto 191km

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HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia 2011, Stage 5: Piombino - Orvieto 191km

We slept like logs last night – maybe it was the fact that we were emotionally drained or maybe it was the grappa we had for a nightcap here in Piombino?

We stayed in Cecina, on the Ligurian Sea, roughly half way between the Stage 4 finish in Ligorno and the stage 5 start today in Piombino.

The season hasn’t started yet on the Ligurian, it kicks off in June; over on the east coast the Adriatic season has already begun and they’ll be out there on their sun loungers as I write this.

We tucked in on the HTC convoy to get to the start and did the ‘sound bites’ and pictures round of the team buses.

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Tucked into the team convoy means high speed motorway travel.

We said ‘hello’ to David Millar and told him proud we were of him – but no pictures as he had Olbas oiled cotton wool dangling from his nose.

But later in the morning we ‘got the shot’ – Jimmy with David, to add to Jimmy with Super Mario.

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Dave looks great in the leader’s jersey.
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Ale Jet is cool in Red.
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Angel Vicioso.
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Jimmy and Mark Renshaw.
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One if the Vini Farnese riders has to look after the bambino for a minute – as if that sterrato wasn’t enough.
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Contador looks relaxed.
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Paolo the Liquigas Press Liaison.
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At Euskaltel there was the usual absence of fans, so talking to our old amigo, Tomas the mechanic was no problem.

The crowds were huge at the start and the assembly area for the riders was very compact, making for a great atmosphere.

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A treat for the jersey wearers – shade.
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And lots of photographers, wonder why.
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Max Sciandri and Fabio Baldato (the only pro cyclist in history ever to look cool with a beard) are sharing DS duties at BMC.
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Dave Millar goes for double-wrapped ‘bar tape…
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… and rides on 25mm FMB P-R tubs.
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Weening’s moto paid off today.

And now it’s 16:00 and we’re on the last section of the ‘strade bianche’ – the white dirt roads.

This is the third ‘settori’ – the first sector had a cat 3 GPM within it; those dirt ramps are savage.

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We’ve found our spot.
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But every spot is a good spot.

But we figure that this will be a better vantage point because there are guaranteed to be punctures and crashes on the descents between the cat 3 and this rise.

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A little protection in the event of a crash.

The crowds aren’t huge, but there’s a fair turn out – if this was Belgium, there’d 100,000 people up here.

The early part of the race route today was a tad bland, but there are always hilltop towns to draw the camera.

There’s certainly no problem with photo opportunities now.

Fast forward, 18:37 in Bolsena on the glorious Lago di Bolsena – that’s one of the things I like about working on this race: seeing parts of Italy I didn’t even know existed.

The white roads were amazing – our vantage point was spot on, at the top of the last drag on the dirt.

One word? Carnage!

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The chopper appears seconds before we see Kohler.
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The Swiss BMC rider Kohler was well clear and looking good, but the peloton was charging.
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David Millar was off the back of the peloton a little, but there were riders 15 minutes behind him. Photo©Ed Hood

Graeme Brown was stone last – and like Jim said; ‘there’ll be a thousand stories to be told in that race, today.’

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Weening and Gadret chase.
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Astana drives – Kreuziger must feel good.
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Hondo just gets on with it.