So many days so far away from the heart of the race, from the roar of the road... A bit because busy, a lot willing to put a distance between my present life and my past. Believe it isn't easy, even when you know it's for good. You could go saying hi and you go nowhere because the last mechanic, the nicest junrno or press official brings back memories, sweet or bad, and how my Shelley used to say "Joy once lost is pain". It's with a mixed feeling that I went to Arezzo, mainly because my son asked for it.
In the morning we were both in school, then we ran catching a train, the same I take three times a week to go working in Figline. Absentminded I was looking through the window the gorgeous country landscape we are so used to, dotted of small villages and factories. After San Giovanni Valdarno it becomes flatter, wider and monotonous. There was a break-away. There was a dirty road stretch before the uphill finish in the center of Arezzo. There was my ex on a team car and I was wondering if Andy was watching. Ghosts everywhere already.
In Arezzo around 3.15 pm, according to the time schedule we were early but as riders make the race we were just in time: they were flying! We ran up the last climb and found a very good spot. We had to fight to keep it: the crowd was grand. We took a breath. Anthony McCrossan's familiar voice was saying that the break was in the town, coming, here.
The music from the finish as usual was thrilling. Standing on a door step, holding my camera, I could feel the familiar excitement. Empty mind, full focus. I took my pictures. So different from the past! I used to be very stressed, almost upset. I used to concentrate on my subject - Andy Schleck - without a real care about the rest. And I used to be demanding. Now I just want to take some good pictures and I'm curious to see who wins, how the gc guys will play it... I must admit I glimpse inside the Sky's team car when the group arrives. It's a complicated feeling: I ended it, I know it wasn't working and still I miss it a bit.
First passage on the line, the bell rings. There is a big screan and we can see the battle in the main contenders' group. Tom Domoulin is dropped and the Pink Jersey is lost. Alejandro Valverde opens the dance on the dirty road and I must admit he's a good dancer. Vincenzo Nibali tries to react, Mikel Landa is in trouble. Living all that in the middle of a pasionate crowd is very different from watching the telly alone in your living room. No matter if the most of those people around me understand nothing of cycling and acritically love his hero. It's a powerful mood!
In front Gianluca Brambilla attacked the break, is solo, is coming. We are all cheering for him: the brave, the gutsy. The music from the finish is too high, too mad, almost covering the speaker's voice telling the gap. He come! Holding my breath I shoot. BAM! Brambilla! It's done! Stage victory and the Pink Jersey too. That's huge!
The peloton exploded so riders arrive in small shattered groups. Some riders didn't make the cut, Elia Viviani included. When the main contenders arrive the battle is over and Valverde won, conquered a little seconds for the making of his crown. Not a triumph but a signal. Tomorrow in the ITTT everybody will have to do his math.
The crowd is generous at cycling races so every rider arriving got his claps. We slowly moved toward the finish for the awarding cerimony. I saw Bob Jungels wearing again that White... We went to the bus, down, out the skirt of the walls, where Marcel Kittel was signing and posing for pictures with a tons of fans. He was going to quit the race and looking good. The bus were leaving. We left to, off to the center for a well deserved crêpe.