Photo Gallery: The big race for last and Heather Morrison is ‘Roadside’ for the Giro di Lombardia and the sixth race of her Italian autumn week. Heather was in Bergamo and Como for the best shots of the start and finish under the falling leaves of Lombardia.
Bauke Mollema at the sign-on – Little did we know
Valverde waves to the fans – I keep forgetting he is here
Ion Izzagire at the sign-on
So, today started at 5:45am, rough. A cup of tea got me ready and I set out about 7:30am, as I wanted to get to Bergamo for the sign-on, which was due to begin at 9. Due to various ‘Hazard Ahead’ warnings and lots of police about, it was about 9:30 when I arrived, and there was no space left in the stampa parking and I had to search about a bit.
Toms Skujins signing on – He made it into the early break
Last pro race for Ten Dam
I get to the podium for sign-on just as Cofidis were leaving, this means I missed all the Pro Conti teams, watch this space, Masnada win today. I get some good shots and the ‘Umbrella Woman’ turns up in several of them. There was no ‘Purito’ or Alberto this year which is quite sad.
Nibali signing on and saying ‘hi’ to his fans
Phil Gilbert is having fun today – Also going for his 3rd Lombardia
Geschke at the sign-on
All the teams signing on appeared very relaxed, I’m not sure if that is a good or bad sign. As the teams set off into the sun with the backdrop of Bergamo’s Cittá Alta in the background, it was quite beautiful. I head back to the car for a cup of tea before setting off again for Como.
Enric Mas is having a laugh as well, a very happy podium
Another ‘possible’ day for Fuglsang
James Knox enjoying the joke at the start
The drive to Como goes well and I get parked in the free Stampa parking this time. Time to find the media centre and start writing this and sending off the morning pics. Alastair [PEZ editor] will not be happy, there are a lot to edit.
Steve Morabito’s last race
Nibali and Ballerini on the start line
Nat Berhane getting ready to go
The race is on the Sormano now and it looks like Cicco is leading the pack. Don’t exhaust yourself, but this would finish off this week for me in style. Off to the finish now to watch the big screens: 50.4 kilometres to go – Forza Cicco…
Visconti coming to the line ready for business
Could it be Gaudu’s day?
Benoot – Lotto Soudal’s best finisher
Wow! Just when I decide Bauke Mollema is an attractive man, after all these years, he goes and bloody wins Il Lombardia.
Bardiani boys ready!
Ballerini spotted someone he knows
Ballerini, Carboni (or is it Rota) and Bernal on the line
All in, its been a good afternoon. Stefano, the ‘Chief of the Photographers’ didn’t give a centimetre on the ‘Umbrella Woman’ and where she wanted to be positioned in the pack – oh how I laughed… And unlike last year, I found the podium. I’m quite enjoying this life now. I’ve met quite a few really nice folk and one ‘eejit’. I’ll be back.
Villella and Herrada heading out with a smiling Betancur
I get back to Novara around 8pm, but it took longer to find a parking space than to get here from Como, I empty the car, and pretty much get everything packed and head out to the restaurant that I have eaten in every night and it is packed out, but they find me a seat. I have the first bad meal of the week as I was running out of options on the menu, but I have a few drinks. It’s now like schools’ out and I’m on holiday.
The big win for Bauke Mollema
The sprint for second place – Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Egan Bernal (Ineos) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
So to recap my nine days in Italy:
I stayed in the castle in Sissa Trescali, Parma for 3 nights, and past its best hotel in Novara for 6 nights.
Giro dell’Emilia – Bologna to San Luca
Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli, men and women – Monteveglio to Monteveglio
Tre Valli Varesine – Saronno to Varese
Milano Torino – Magenta to Superga (Torino)
Gran Piemonte – Agliè to Oropa
Il Lombardia – Bergamo to Como.
8th place goes to Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Buchmann ahead of the three Frenchmen: Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale), Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and teammate Rafal Majka
Between picking up creds and being at the starts and finishes, I was in:
Bologna (twice), San Luca, Monteveglio, Saronno (twice), Varese, Magenta (twice), Superga, Agliè, Oropa, Bergamo (twice), Lecco and Como (twice). Including where I was staying, I spent considerable time in fourteen cities and towns, plus two airports, Bologna and Malpensa.
Visconti crossing the line in 17th place
I had to drive on some of the weirdest roads; strips of tarmac in the middle of a field, crossed two bridges that were the width of the car, that had concrete at the entrance/exit to make it even tighter (I just laughed crossing them), directed along canal paths, etc. and I have loved every minute of the total 1,943 kilometres. The worst part was trying to find the car rental drop off at Malpensa.
Fausto Masnada with the trophy for 1st up the Ghisallo climb
A tear in the winners eye
And the wheel trophy
So back to Scotland, I will miss Italy, I would love to do it all again and actually see the towns and villages I’ve been in, but its just not possible. I need to get a job, if anyone knows of anything going?
Mollema receiving the new jersey in honour of Felice Gimondi – He wasn’t expecting it to be front fastening
Eventually; Mollema in the new Gimondi jersey
Backstage between presentations – Still emotional
Mollema and Bernal let the Champagne flow
Champagne shot – Once Valverde got going
Thanks for reading my ramblings and I hope you enjoyed my photos, and keep reading PEZ, they do go places others don’t. I’ll see you next year, maybe try Belgium for a change.
Champagne on the jersey