Part One: The cobbled classics often get lumped together, and for the two super cobbled classics, Flanders and Roubaix, they're rarely mentioned in separate sentences. It's a shame, because the two races can't be more different. De Ronde is justifiably known as Flanders's Most Beautiful, whilst Roubaix - her nickname is just as appropriate and perfect: the Hell of the North. We were there once again on Sunday, chasing the dust to Roubaix.
When the television tells the name of the winner the silence comes into the Poggio. The tifosi are very upset. Another year without an Italian winner. And most of the people are asking who this Goss is. They cannot believe that such a great race was won by such a 'small' name. The Poggio turns to the quietness in a moment, and I feel so strange now that everything is finished. The first thought is how far this passion has led me from home. The second one is the time I will need to get back. But…
Roadside Report: 07.00: the alarm blasts, but it's not too painful, only two grappas last night. La Gazzetta Dello Sport tells us that it's the 104th edition of the Giro di Lombardia with "196 corridori di 25 nazioni e di 25 squadre." It's time for one last Monument, one last big race for 2010. Read on!
Roadside Rest Day: I was asked a question by someone back home: Does it make sense to hold the opening stages of the Giro so far from La Belle Italia? Does it feel natural? It’s only been a few days, my first visit to this amazing city, but I have to confess it does all make sense in a peculiar Italo-Dutch way.
It all happens so fast, on the day; autostrada, sign-on, satnavs, pictures, maps, notes, ferries, more pictures, TV, BlackBerry, wi-fi, editing, captioning, SEND - when did we last eat? But the morning after, there's time to reflect, think about the fact that you were part of history for the day.
Roadside PEZ: One last time for 2009 that is! The Race of the Falling Leaves is one of the best all season, so of course we had our Man in the Trenches, Ed Hood, on the scene accompanied by longtime pal, Dave. Ed takes us along for one more Roadside PEZ to round out 2009. Enjoy!
PEZ-Man In Italia, Alessandro Federico, was on the spot at the 2006 Giro dell'Emilia last week for one of the great Italian Fall Classics. He brings us a fantastic report on the race, the people, the food, everything that makes a great race...well, great.