The crowd roars, waves pink stuff, shows banners. Old people on a chair in front at their old paesan house or siting in a field just above the road, cars parked with a typical Italian creativity, a man with a big umbrela waiting atop an Ape Piaggio. Guys jumping and screaming, girls screaming a part, guys and girls also jumping together. Pink baloons and pink ribbons decorating every village from Modena to Sestola and names written all over the road. Two cars in front there is Mario Cipollini driving a silver gray porche. "But but....! was that Cipollini?!" people exclaim. "Yes! It's Cipollini!" we reply quite annoyed. He gets off to sign and poses for fans' selfies. It seems that Italian fans ignore the link between Cipollini and Dr. Fuentes... or maybe they don't care.
The road is steep and more croweded curve after curve. I must go to the finish, the race is behind and we stay in a line till the line, so they must found the way to make us arrive and park. At least that's my hope. At the moment it's crazy. I show my accreditation and they let me go up, check after check. Maybe they are wrong but we are with Cipollini so we keep going, slowly but steadly, till Passo del Lupo.
I can't listen to 'radio corsa' but we check on twitter and we know that a crash happened in the first part of the race. Arriving atop and - YES! - parking we discover that there is a break-away, formed after about 50 km: Julien Berard (AG2R La Mondiale), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani CSF), Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocatolli), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocatolli), David Tanner (Belkin), Oscar Gatto (Cannondale), Leonardo Duque (Colombia), Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida), Jonathan Monsalve (Neri Sottoli), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Belisol), Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and Davide Malacarne (Europcar).
It's cold in Passo del Lupo. You can see the snow on the mountains tops, few far from here. Although expected, it's a shock. We put on something warm and hurry up to the finish.
The day has begun in Reggio Emilia, at Camilla's place. She was with me in the highschool so we know each other since age, and today she's going to enjoy for her first time a procycling full immersion. First stop was the start in Lugo and there it was fucking hot. The usual mess at the signing podium, the usual fight to make understand the Giro's security men that with a press accreditation you should be able to see something and get a little close to the riders in order to ask a word... Never mind. The Giro is great. The Giro is a crazy pot of fans and staff and jurnos and photographers... overexcited and nervous.
This time the start is in the yard of an ancient castle. Very beautiful but not exactly pratical. I met and nodded and waved to the many people I always met and nod and wave at races. Sometimes you don't know the name but you meet so often that the name doesn't matter at all. Riders arrive, sign and go to the lining up. I have got the chance to say hi to Manuel Belletti and to ask Dario Cataldo some questions about the stage of Montecassino. "Many think the same but you had the guts to speak loud" I said "I respect you for that". Riders look happy and serene in spite of plasters and bandages. Maybe it's the sun.
In Passo del Lupo we wait while Paolo Mai describes the race at the microphone. Music on, we hold the breath: 19 km to go Weening jumped from the group at a roundabout, Malacarne joined, they gain a gap and we wait for them. Enrico Barbin is chasing solo.
There is a big roar when Domenico Pozzovivo attacks from the peloton 5 km to go. Barbin is caught and dropped. Pozzovivo is flying. Ahead Weening wins, Malacarne is second. They pass together in front of us. Then Pozzovivo solo, only 42 seconds later. Evans group has a delay of 1:08. We feel no cold! even my friend who has never seen cycling race is screaming and jumping to cheer the little climber. My outsider in this Giro. He's doing great.
At the press conference Evans looks exhausted. But also relaxed and confident. The most of the Giro still has to come, he knows. Weening says that after Bling got and lost the Pink Jersey ORICA-GE has no pressure, they already achieved a wonderful result so now they are free to hunt stages and personal goals. Of course he's happy.
We are happy and exahusted too. Happy to go back to Sestola and then to Vesale, exhausted when we finally drop our bags in a cosy room at Locanda Zita. And even happier when we enjoy the super good dinner!
It has been a long day. It's a little unreal to be here, in a small small village, in a deep silence, watching the sun going down in a long sweet agony and big shadws covering the mountains, dark green.
|1||Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica Greenedge||4:25:51|
|2||Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar|
|3||Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale||0:00:42|
|4||Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:01:08|
|5||Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team|
|6||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|7||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team|
|8||Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky|
|9||Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|10||Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia|
|11||Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing|
|12||Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team|
|13||Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team|
|14||Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp|
|15||Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team|
|16||Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale|
|17||Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol|
|18||Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale|
|19||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar|
|20||Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale|
|Sun set in Vesale|
|1||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||38:49:34|
|2||Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||0:00:57|
|3||Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo||0:01:10|
|4||Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale||0:01:20|
|5||Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team||0:01:31|
|6||Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team||0:01:39|
|7||Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:01:43|
|8||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:01:44|
|9||Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team||0:01:45|
|10||Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing||0:01:49|
|11||Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale||0:02:01|
|12||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar||0:02:56|
|13||Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||0:03:03|
|14||Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol||0:03:41|
|15||Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||0:03:45|
|16||Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:04:25|
|17||Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp||0:04:30|
|18||Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo||0:04:36|
|19||Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:05:36|
|20||Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Sky||0:05:42|
|1||Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr||166||pts|
|2||Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing||150|
|3||Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale||139|
|4||Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida||121|
|5||Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky||92|
|1||Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing||47||pts|
|2||Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida||39|
|3||Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani-CSF||26|
|4||Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing||20|
|5||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||15|
|6||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||15|
|1||Marco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli||22||pts|
|2||Andrea Fedi (Ita) Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo||20|
|3||Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale||16|
|4||Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||13|
|1||Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo||38:50:44|
|2||Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team||0:00:29|
|3||Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:00:33|
|4||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:34|
|5||Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team||0:00:35|
|1||Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||115:46:00|