Viktor wouldn’t like it here at the Giro d’Italia, the cobbles are big flat things and the locals all dress trendily – not a pair of Belgian basket weave shoes or a tank top in sight.
And the fans don’t come straight up to you and ask you a string of questions, once they realise you’re not a local.
And wine? What the hell is that?
But it has it’s compensations – hill top towns, nice weather, pretty girls, pizza… and grappa.
Today was a stage for the breakaway riders, they nearly pulled it off, but not quite.
The finale was a good one, with the last escapee not coming back ’til 1700 metres to go.
Francisco Ventoso isn’t a name that’s bandied around a lot but he’s a quality finisher. He was a very successful U23 rider and then turned pro for Mauro Gianetti’s Saunier Duval team. He won the USPRO in Philly – a very competitive race – in 2004 and in 2006, the third stage of the Vuelta.
Despite three wins in 2007, Gianetti let him go and he went to the small Andalucia-Cajasur team for 2008. In 2009 with the Italian CarmioOro team he took nine wins – and in 2010 took another four, one of which was Paris-Brussels.
Yesterday was his fifth win of 2011 to go with stage wins in the Tour Down Under, Andalucia and two in the Castilla y Leon – but Ben Swift got the better of him in the last stage, there.
Ale Jet was second – and like Ventoso – was so wasted he had to sit on the tar to recover from his efforts.
Cav? The last we saw of him was dangling right at the back on a rise – the end is nigh at HTC.
He’s unsettled; and the team personnel just shrug and roll their eyes at the mention of his name.
Maybe he’ll get his proper motivation back at BMC – but we didn’t say that.
As far as our Giro goes, for the strade bianche stage we tried to do too much – work the buses, the roll out, race route and a lot of time on the dirt roads.
Yesterday the plan was to take a bit of pressure off; do the ‘fan’ thing at the start then watch the finalé on TV in a bar near to our digs – missing out driving the parcours.
All went well until it was ‘connect to the internet time’ in the hotel, when it was time for that horrible frustration that only hassle with computers can generate.
We ended up having to copy the pictures on to a memory stick then send them via the – very slow – hotel computer.
That side of things should have been a doddle, instead it was a nitemare – but that’s how it goes.
Fortunately, there was a good, cheap restaurant in the hotel so we didn’t have to stot around Cassino – a grey, uninspired ‘anytown Italia’ kind of place – to try and find a restaurant.
Today (Friday) is the first real mountain top finish – the Cat 2 Montevergine.
As for the start town – Maddaloni; don’t book it for your holidays folks!