6.04.2014

Giro d'Italia 21: Gemona - REPORTAGE and GALLERY 1

'Heart of Genona'
Up the steep road, the cathedral on top, pink decoration as usual and people panting on the nasty climb. "Gemona saluta il Giro d'Italia". Giro in Gemona: start village, signature podium and accreditation van scattered all over the town because there isn't a place large enough to contain everything. Nobody know where is what so I take a self-guided tour to vist the ancient beautiful place. I have been there long time ago and I remember my amazement face to the enormous statue engraved in the church facade
The cathedral
"Evidence of human occupation in Gemona goes back to prehistoric times. The town occupies a key point on the road from Italy to Austria, and there are traces of Celtic occupation around the year 500 BC.
The area was subject to various invasions in the period 166-750, including Huns, Marcomanni, Ostrogoths, Visigoths and Lombards, who had it as a stronghold from about 558. Lombard historian Paul the Deacon mentions it in 611 as an "impregnable castle". From the fall of the Lombard Kingdom of Italy until 952 Gemona was under Carolingian rulers. During this period the castle was built, the modern town growing around it.
From 776, Gemona became an important part of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. In the 12th century Gemona was an autonomous commune: in 1184 the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted a charter for the town's market. In the 13th and 14th century it returned to the Patriarchate, until, in 1420, that state was absorbed by the Republic of Venice.
Music and dances
In 1797 French troops under Napoleon defeated the Venetian Republic: in 1798, after the Treaty of Campoformio, Gemona came under Austrian rule. Following a plebiscite in 1866, Gemona became part of the newly unified Kingdom of Italy.
That was my place: too far!!
The present town is medieval in origin but was badly damaged in the 1976 Friuli earthquake. Restoration began the same year, and now the town has been largely restored. The castle is currently under reconstruction." (Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemona_del_Friuli)
Now you know. It isn't a miracle in the desert that grand work of fine art. Gemona has been some city in the past
Voices of speakers and music: a terrace with a view. Monte Grappa. A large blue sky. The signauture podium. That's probably the last time I ask a press accreditation for the Giro given that the place I get at the start is so far from where riders stay - people who came early took a better place... In add staff are so kind and polite... Never mind: I'm here to enjoy the last day of the race so I enter my ridicolous 'Hospitality Galileo', fight for a place at the barrier as everybody outside, take out my camera and try to make the best of it.
They had to climb even to go signing!
I'm annoyed and almost everybody around is nervous: staff - as usual: they are saving the world you know, so they must be rude - supposed 'invited' - nobody know about them so they can't go where they need to be and try in vain to talk with the 'right' person - photographers - they can reach the signature podium... but by the other side of the crowded square: crossing the 'hospitality area' is forbiden for some very important reason... The crowd is happy instead and riders look very relaxed: smiling they stop signing authographes and pose for a picture. It's the last day at school, tomorrow it's holyday, tonight is festa! 
Tim Wellens: a breaker!!

Alexis Villermoz is the b-day guy: he's siting in the forbiden area after the gate where riders wait for the start eating cakes and reading the Gazzetta. The start is atop: quite illogical but suggestive. The small square is absolutely full. Many flags and many are Colombian. I wonder if Colombian fans came from Colombia for the historical day or the most of them are in Europe working.... But Italians are the most, and there are people from everywhere in the world. Colombians are just the more excited, colourful, noisy and proud. Colombian riders are also in the first row today: happy, on demand. Nairo Quintana is all pink and Movistar's riders has got pink handlebars and pink shoes.
Colombian riders were elated
The sun is hot. Riders come to sign all together. For me it's time to run and catch the only train to Trieste - boooo! - so I have no time to watch the start. Was I supposed to go by car? but the road to Trieste is closed since early this morning. In add the train to Trieste is a small one: only two coaches. You can imagine how crowded. Station after station people fight to get on. From Monfalcone you must walk to Trieste if you miss this train. Another Italian shame.
My friend Elisabetta is in Gorizia rehearsing with her guitar quartet, she's lucky that I kept her a seat! the woman next to me is a Sky journalist and tells me about the mess on the Cima Grappa. Maybe RCS should consider better some logistic stuff...
MORE TO COME!

Matteo Montaguti
See the crowd!!

Alexis Villermoz
Relaxed riders stop for fans
Dario Cataldo: King of the Stelvio!
Daniel Oss




Note the sun cream!
Before the start
Nairo Quintana all pink :)

One of the beard in the peloton...

A terrace with a view

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