Monday, June 24, 2024

Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 18: Mori – Polsa (ITT) 20.6km. Vincenzo Nibali Supreme


HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia 2013 - Stage 18: Mori - Polsa (ITT) 20.6km. Vincenzo...

The original plan for the stage 18 mountain time trial was to do a ‘tech’ piece on the bikes the top ten, including Vincenzo Nibali, would be riding for the ‘chronoscalata.’

But with the number of Tifosi around the buses and the fact that the ‘Bigs’ kept themselves out of the way ’til the last gasp, we shelved that one.

So we decided to do a piece on the aspects you need to make a time trial – percorso, hardware, fans…

Name boards! Get yours here!

The start was at the velodrome in Mori and the finish high above in the village of Polsa; initially the weather was lovely – with Dave and I having to blag hats to avoid first-degree sunstroke.

This isn’t really stage-winner Intxausti’s thing but he’s going well and could finish in the top 20 today.
The UCI chaps keep themselves busy with the rule book, scales and string.

The early starters were pretty relaxed about it all, none of them would be ‘troubling the time keepers.’

Danny Pate both chills and warms at the same time.
Sergio Henao looks serious, but will struggle to stay within two minutes of the winner today.
Kruijswijk and Gesink get into the zone.

Alex Dowsett looked the part and was one of the few to go on a time trial bike.

Alex sits relaxed at the start as his mechanic cleans his tyres with a vinegar-soaked cloth.

He’d end the day well down and we suspect that he was either trying out the percorso on the TT bike to report back to Intxausti on suitability – or it was just marketing; National Champion ‘chronoman’ on chrono bike.

If it’s marketing, it works – plenty of folk taking photos of Alex.

In the event, all of the top ten went on road bikes with clip ons; only the Blanco climbers went on TT bikes.

Clip-Ons are the generally preferred aero method today.
Canadian TT Champ Christian Meier.

Having driven a good portion of the course we reckon a TT machine wasn’t the answer, despite the fact that there were a couple of big descents there was 1,000 metres of climbing, much of it steep ramps linked by hairpins.

Having had a good skek at the early starters we decided we’d follow a rider.

In the Tour you have meet the right man, get the special ‘chrono’ sticker for your car and be marshalled into the correct position for the ‘off’ behind the rider’s team car.

It’s different at the Giro; the guys with the name boards don’t speak English but we got the stubbled dude who’s kind of keeping half a layed-back eye on the comings and goings of motors at the start.

You must see Julia at the accreditation desk, she has the stickers‘ – that’s back where we’ve just come from.

‘Hi Julia, we’ve just come from the start, the gentleman over there said you have the stickers for the car for the time trial?

Julia frowns; ‘I don’t have any stickers, just tell him I said it was OK.’

We smile; ‘Grazie, Julia.’

Back to the start; ‘Julia says she doesn’t have any stickers but it’ll be OK.’

He smiles, shrugs; ‘OK.

Five minutes later we’re tucked in behind Stefano Garzelli (Vini Fantini & Italy) with no sticker and no drama.

If this was the Tour we’d be in the cells by now.

Garzelli still looks the part, he’s won the Giro during his long career which began with Mercatone Uno way back in 1997 when he was ninth on GC in the Giro.

And it’s only two years since he won the Montagna jersey in the Giro.

He’s less serious these days and the ‘tranquillo’ vibe around him is only enhanced by the fact that his following car is a Mini convertible driven by none other than Super Mario.

Mario spends the time driving the support car acknowledging his fans.

The spare bike is papped in the back seat at a jaunty angle and Cipollini spends much of his time peeping and waving to the Tifosi – to whom he’s still a God.

Stefano rode sweetly, enough – he’d finish an eventual 106th @ 5:57 – if not setting the heather aflame and caught Matteo Trentin (QuickStep & Italy).

Garzelli rode a nice time trial, contained and controlled, for 112th place.

Matteo perked up when Stefano caught him so they did a two-up for a bit before Matteo dropped back for a blether with Mario in the Mini.

File under; ‘only in the Giro.’

We potter up the climb past pal Jered Gruber, taking more of his fantastic shots.

Just before we took the ‘deviation’ back to the start with about five K to go – otherwise we’d have been stuck on the mountain ’til ‘thon time’ – Christian Vandevelde (Garmin & USA) stamped past us on his way to 50th place @ 4:16.

A quick word with Iljo to wish him good luck, before his start.

Down in the valley the ‘Bigs’ were coming out to play; some focussed, like Sanchez and Nibali; some worried, like Evans and some tranquillo, like Scarponi.

Scarponi has time for a smile, but today is one of the days he’s targeted.
Nibali exudes confidence.
Sammy’s mechanic Tomàs carries out some last minute adjustments to his clip-ons.
Francisco Ventoso isn’t too concerned about the time trial to come.

Nibali apart, most of the top ten are skeletal – Betancur has the thighs of a kilometre rider and the body of a 12 year-old laddie.

Nibali isn’t skeletal but neither is he ‘chunky’ – a very well proportioned athlete.

Lampre’s big Polish rider, Niemiec .