Just one stage left to work on the Giro d’Italia 2011 to Tropea … I’ll miss the race, the coffee, the weather, the Gazzetta – but not the time spent sitting in the car, before, during and after stages.
Saturday was a monstro – Salerno was where we spent the night; we had a two hour drive to the start, then a 217 kilometre stage followed by a mad breenge to the Sicily ferry, on the very toe of the Italian boot.
At least the ferry was very straightforward, no dramas; and we did get a chat with Paolo Bettini – a nice guy.
Saturday’s stage was a long haul down the Mare Tirreno – very much flat but with that little ‘sting in the tale’ climb where Gatto got it just right.
We spotted the Rabo guys at the feed zone: ‘hi chaps, what does the pink jersey have for lunch?‘ says I, cheerily.
‘Your car is dangerously parked!‘ comes the reply.
‘It’s not that bad and there are 50 minutes ’til the race,’ says me – bearing in mind that there are T-shirt vans parked at jaunty angles all over the road.
‘Yes, but it is best you move it, now.‘
Contador is impressive – as our pal Ivan said to me in an email; ‘a winners’ mentality.’ He sees a chance to steal some seconds without going too ‘deep’ and he grabs it.
Petacchi was right at the head of affairs in the bunch but can’t compete with the little men on a ramp like that.
And Cav? nowhere in sight.
It’s taken Gatto a year or two to come good; he was a team mate of Dario Cioni’s at ISD in 2009 and was in danger of becoming one of those sprinters who can’t win sprints.
But yesterday he took the step up from ‘nearly man’ to winner. It’s good to see.
However, I wouldn’t have included that climb in the finale, it was always going to be a place where an opportunist could make his mark – I like those big boulevard blasts, watching Hondo and Ale Jet strut their stuff.
At the start in Messina, this morning, Gatto was happy to chat to all and sundry and pose for any number of pictures.
But now we’re en route Etna, so best get writing, it’s our last day on the race today so I’ll have more time tomorrow to give you the low down on ‘Nibali Day.’
1 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini – Neri Sottoli 4:59:45
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:00:05
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team
5 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
6 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling
7 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team
8 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo
10 Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
11 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
12 Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini – Neri Sottoli
13 Russell Downing (GBr) Sky Procycling
14 Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Por) Team RadioShack
15 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) Team Garmin-Cervelo
16 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
17 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team
18 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team
19 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD
20 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
21 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioShack
22 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana
23 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar Team
24 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
25 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
26 Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
27 JoaquÃm RodrÃguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team
28 Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC
29 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
30 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team Astana
31 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
32 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team
33 Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
34 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Geox-TMC
35 Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad
36 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
37 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli
38 Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad
39 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
40 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team
41 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
42 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
43 Tiago Machado (Por) Team RadioShack
44 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
45 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
46 Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad
47 Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
48 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
49 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling
50 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago – CSF Inox
51 Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Pro Team Astana
52 Marcel Wyss (Swi) Geox-TMC
53 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Geox-TMC
54 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Androni Giocattoli
55 Andrea Noe (Ita) Farnese Vini – Neri Sottoli
56 Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
57 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre – ISD
58 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:15
59 Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team
60 Sergio Pardilla BelllÃ³n (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:20
61 Gert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:22
62 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
63 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:23
64 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone 0:00:26