What's Cool In Road Cycling

Giro di PEZ: The Quiet Land (Between The Storms)

Roadside St. 12 A day far from job and family issues, a day chasing the Giro with bike, the fast race and a quiet, remote town lost in the middle of Italy. Stage 12 heads north on a route that leaves one of the last chances to the sprinters. The hard days are coming soon and the sun gives the opportunity for a breath. Let’s see how it happened.

Porto Recanati is a small town on the Adriatic sea you can find in the middle of the east Italian coast. Not far from my location it’s one good opportunity to forget about my job for a day. The original plan was to have Natalia (my wife) with me. But the bad weather of the last days has cooled her enthusiasm, so the new plan is to have… no plan. Just a quiet day!

Luckily the stage is not completely flat. The last 50 km are drawn on the “Maceratesi” hills. A very special land, the country of the poet Leopardi, famous to be contemplative and dramatically… looser. However his pessimism has left to us some of the best Italian poems.

Back to the hills, at this season are covered by the young grain here. Usually cherry trees are full of red fruits but this year the spring has been cold and so there are no cherries to steal from the farmers. The wind blows from the sea and it’s chilly. The sun holds but it seems to be the beginning of May, not the end.

I warm up with some plains, then the idea: the race passes through Montelupone. The town of the terrible climb of Tirreno Adriatico. Why don’t I try it? There are a couple of good answers. First of all it’s a secondary road, hard to find. Especially because it’s just a painful story. Why suffer like a dog? I decide to climb the normal road up to the town and have a lunch in a bar.

The town is deserted. Everybody is already on the main road and the old centre is left to me. Here Joachim Rodriguez has tamed the horrendous climb twice. The old tables of the bar and the tower out are the perfect scene for my panino. A coffee and can return to the Giro.

I’m totally out of form, my legs are of wood and any small climb is a great pain. “Slow down Ale, it’s not the case” – I say to myself. Down below the plain is a perfect blend of greens. I pass into another town; Potenza Picena.

The Giro will pass here twice and it’s a good chance to see two passage instead of one only. All the people are on the main road, out of the walls. It’s not a great place for a picture and I decide to descend down below.

I’m looking for a quiet place in the country, I know I need some space because the speed will be quite high. Helicopter is now close and I stop just after the long easy descent for the first passage. Three guys are in a break. The info car says they’re losing part of the gap. They pass.

I don’t recognize one of them. Possibly one of the Efimkin brothers? The group is coming, one by one aligned along the descent. The Slipstream guys ahead and Porte just behind, supported by his team. And all the others. I would really like to have a Cadel Evans shot but… no chance. Where was he?

I move to the next passage. The good location could be the climb to Potenza Picena but I’m worried there will be too many people. In fact… few! Why? I believe has something to do with the fact no Italian rider has won yet a stage this here. Never happened at this point of the Giro.

Just the time to meet Rita, a Pez friend I meet every year on the road and the race is coming again. The three are almost caught by the bunch. The speed is tremendous. The Slipstream team had the race in hand. I believe Farrar will win again.

The race passes and I have all my thoughts to pick up. It was beautiful? It was boring? Every time I see a race I need some time to realize: too much tension, I cannot put order in my mind. I always have the feeling I lost something. I need hours to understand it was so nice be there!

Now the grain dance into the sea wind. I put all my stuff inside the car and I head to home. The panino in the old small square of Montelupone, the painful climbs and the fast race are just a story I put in words.

The Giro doesn’t care of small stories; the race eat everything and pass through villages, towns and cities. People claps and comes back to life. Riders think to next stage, next bend or next descent. I don’t care. I had my quite afternoon.

What about tomorrow? I’ve been appointed for tomorrow stage also. The race will pass into my town, Fano. Could be a story. But pass through the Pirates road again. Dilemma. What to do? (will know just reading me again!!)

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