What's Cool In Road Cycling

Giro di Pez: Rest Day Review!

Roadside Rest Day: When we left the Paradise Beach Resort on the Ionian Coast of Sicily, it was like ‘The Shining’ meets a ‘Spaghetti Western’ – “that damn wind, does it ever stop blowing ?” The hotel was empty and the wind was howling in off the Ionian Sea. Ed’s Roadside shift at the Giro has come to an end, so this Rest Day is a perfect chance to review the last 9 days…

Ed’s journey from Torino in the north, to Etna in the south has been a journey indeed.

We headed for Selinunte, a pizza (just for a change) too much Dreher beer (Roger de Vlaeminck rode for their team in the 70’s) and a bottle of local red.

By the time we got back, it was the ‘Blues Brothers’ – ‘Murph and the Magic Tones.’

Fabio was on the Hammond organ; ‘Que Sera Sera’ was oozing – but did we dance ? naw ! we needed a grappa.

There are no flights off the island to the UK on a Monday so PEZ did the ‘tourist thing’ and then sat down to think about the ‘story so far’ – those first nine days, what did they tell us ?

Stage 1
HTC are still the TTT kings, and that’s without Tony Martin and Matt Goss. And whilst I hate to moan; in the ‘too much of a good thing’ file – Torino was insane.
Surely the ‘Giro hits town’ is enough without all those mad, drunken ‘Alpini’ ?

Stage 2
Underestimate Alessandro Petacchi at your peril.

Whilst Cav mumped and moaned as he donned that sacred pink tunic; Ale shrugged off the Manxman’s word with a simple; ‘Cavendish is still young, he doesn’t understand . . .

‘Advantage Petacchi.’

Stage 3
Pro bike riders live on the edge. I’ve had my share of bad days; but that was one of the worst. It was like Stefano Zanini reminded us; ‘cycling is a dangerous sport.’

As my girl, Marlene said; ‘that poor boy, and his loved ones . . .

r.i.p. Wouter.

Stage 4
This sport is unique; there’s a bond between the fans and the athletes that even the best wordsmith finds hard to explain. The crowds were big, patient, respectful, loving – it was a privilege to be amongst them.

Stage 5
Surprises are one of the things that make our sport great – Weening ? But he rode a great race. And does ‘off road’ belong in a Grand Tour ? I say, ‘once in a while, but not every year’ – what do you think ?

Stage 6
You can come back ! Ventoso was too good too young; he journeyed to ‘Continental Team purgatory’ then came back – a wiser man.

Respect ! And you’ll hear more of him – he’s rapid.

Stage 7
The next generation is coming. They’re young, talented – and please God, be cleaner.
Bart de Clerq – a Belgian ‘mountain man,’ we like that. But please, Giro – no more funicolares.

Stage 8
Persevere ! It was beginning to look like Oscar Gatto was that saddest of all the beasts; ‘ a sprinter who can’t win sprints.’ Respect to the man – and let’s hope he’s found his new niche, as an opportunist supreme.

Stage 9
Alberto rules. Before this stage he was a scant one second up on Scarponi and 11 seconds up on Nibali – by the end he was 1:21 up on Nibali and 1:28 up on Scarponi.

And I got it wrong on Menchov when I said; ‘We didn’t spot Menchov; but it’s unlikely big Denis would get the chop on these climbs.’

‘Big Denis; now languishes at 3:18 – who’s betting against ‘Bert’ in pink in Milano ?

Not me.

~ Keep it dialed to PEZ as we sadly say ‘arrivaderci’ to Ed and Jim, but ‘benvenuto’ to Alessandro – who’ll take through the next three stages of roadside action up the Adriatic Coast.

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