Giro time again, this year starting in Sardinia and finishing in Milan. The nearest start point to TS is Pordenone, stage 20 (I think) Daily commentary from Larry perhaps ? Day one, Friday 5th May.
I enjoyed the Tour of Yorkshire last week; some lovely pictures of some lovely places.
Meanwhile Roy, I mean Roy not you Roy) won't forgive me if I miss an opportunity to put the photo of the German peloton on the Strada Napoleonica:
and I won't be happy if I miss a chance to show me again at the head of the Tour of Britain:
Roy (and Harry). You have got to be joking Roy. ME? Comment on a bike race?
Bad enough seeing Harry at the front of the Tour of somewhere. Last Sunday as per usual with my son and daughter, we went down to the cemetery in Cheadle to put flowers on my wife's grave and light candles. On the way from Cheadle Hulme to Cheadle (two miles) on the opposite side of the road (thank goodness) there passed not one but three large groups of cyclists going like the clappers - but to where? and for what? (And always at the passing of the groups there is poor old lone rider on his own like a little lost lamb!) Every Sunday it's the same. When they get to the top of Hulme Hall Road, which is at the back of our house, the road splits into two. One goes to the left along Church Road, the other goes on up along Pingate (or something road). I've never seen them go on either of these roads because I am then, usually, still down in the cemetery so, if it be a natural thing, wheer do it cum from, wheer do it go? To me, they have just vanished, to reappear in a weeks time on Sunday morning again. Have they been slung out by their second halves who have to, I've no doubt, get their Sunday lunches ready?
I'v just had a thought. Dave, to save you having to walk to chapel, why not get a bike or a trike....Yes, get a trike,then your wife can ride with you!!!!!!!
I often bemoan the fact that other people clutter places up when it would be far more pleasant to have the road, shop, footpath or check-in desk to ourselves.
But do they listen? Not on your life. They'll be there cluttering up the scenery next time we go out for a meal or a leisurely drive or whatever. Only this morning we went to our favourite coffee roastery. The drive would normally take us 30 minutes or so but there were lots of cyclists about and we must have wasted at least 30 seconds on top of that - infuriating you'll agree.
It was both exciting and entertaining to encounter three tractors on the second leg of our journey. One, coming the opposite way, were towing a fearsome, jagged implement - I nearly said behind but it jutted out so hilariously into our side of the road that we had to laugh. My wife still asserts, improbably, that last week she saw one being used to plough a field. The two going our way were pulling large trailers very slowly. None of them had number plates. Our sides ached.
One thing I notice about that peloton of Bosch riding along the Napoleonic way. At least they were wearing helmets, which is more than I can say about the cyclists I see riding around here every day.
Good morning gentlemen all. Just a couple of comments, if I may. Re larry's comment on getting a trike to travel to chapel in styhle on a Sunday morning. Well I have made enqjuiries about such a vehicle so that Syulvia can also sit on it (and do the pedalling and steering too, of course!) but there doesn't seem to be anything really suitable on the market around here! Good thing Sylvia doesn't read these pages very often!
Cycling - When I was a young lad and did such things as cycling I found the roads were full of bren gun carriers, army waggons, suaddires on driving instruction etc cluttering up the roads. When I grew up and started to drive a car I found the roads were full of cyclists and pedestrians all going where ever they were going taking no nbotice of real traffic on the roads. Now, when I am of sober years and don't drive and can't cycle blow me if the roads are full of bicycles and motorised traffic of all sorts whose only ambition in life is to see how many poor old pedestrians they can frighten the life out of! Isnm't life SO unfair!!!!!
Funnily enough I learned to drive and got my licence while I was stationed in a place called Trieste. The driving course was run by the RASC using, funnily enough, Army waggons. Even fujnnier was the fact that when I returned to Germany and my old mobile signals unit there the RAF wouldn't let me drive their waggons until I had passed an RAF course ad test. It is a funny old world indeed!
In 1944 I passed my driving test on a BSA 500 at Zetland Hall in Yorkshire. I was in the Infantry and was then sent to join the Welsh Guards Training Battalion at Sanderstead Race track to learn how to drive the Daimler Dingo Reconnaisance car and the Austin PSUs. But no one told me it was in the middle of Doodlebug alley and they were falling all over the place. We got blown across the road one day in Richmond in a 15 hundred weight truck in which one man was learning to drive and four others were sat in the back of the truck waiting their turn to take the steering wheel. We had to double declutch to change gears in those day. The Daimler Dingo was an armoured car type of thing with automatic gears 5 forward and 5 reverse. I passed my driving test in August 1944. The 5 reverse came to serve me well later on in Holland. One day before I had passed my driving test I was told by the Adjutant of the Guards to take a PSU up to Paddington Railway Station and collect two officers and bring them back to Sanderstead. Useless to tell him that I had never been to London in my life. I did eventually make it there and back. But hey, life was more exciting those days.
Larry,you've just reminded me of my own non driving days.In1946 the RASC unit I was in was moved down the road a few miles to Caserta.We were plonked down in the piazza fronting the Bourbon built palace which housed AFHQ.The object was to evacuate all the remaining army transport to a vast dump at Bari.My contribution came when our MSM ordered me to jump behind the wheel of a TCV which was part of a convoy to Bari.With great glee I politely informed him that I was a non driver,to which he thundered"WHAT!THIS IS THE RASC NOT THE BOY SCOUTS!"Keeping my calm,I had to inform him that I was a coppersmith not a driver.He gave up then giving me the enormous pleasure of legitamately refusing an order,the only occasion of my undisdinguished army career.Pity really because I would have enjoyed the trip as the truck had no engine and was a towed steering job only !That palace was a fantas access to We were only allowed access to the rear gardensat the time.Many years later my wife and I visited the palace on holiday but sadly it was quite badly damaged by an earthquake in the area.
meanwhile..... back to the Giro. After 3 days touring in Sardinia the lads have a rest day in Sicily. If you have EUROSPORT on your boxes you can follow the whole thing for 4 or 5 hours daily. One of the teams is called Wilier Triestina and you can view the halberd on their shirts. Wilier is a race bike maker based in Bassano del Grappa and has been around since 1906 when the Giro was born.
On Tuesday the stage finish is near the top of Etna. Hopefully it will not be in active mode !
I just noticed this on browsing through the Sky programme guide and thought it might interest all you byciclisters out there. On SKY go to programme 144 'QUEST' and they have the 'Giro d'Italia'highights on each day.
Roy, the correct spelling of the name of that town is 'Bassano della Grappa' and it is up towards Cortina in the Alps above Venice. Quaint little old Alpine town and the scent of grappa is beautiful in the air all day. Been there once a twice quite a few years ago looking for customers for the machines I was selling then.
Is there anywhere in Italy that Larry has not visited during his career 'on the road'. Today the second and final day in Sicily the Giro passes Taormina en route to Messina with a Welshman , Geraint Jones in second spot. If you have BT Sport, EUROSPORTS (channel 412) you can watch the whole thing, possibly with a glass or two in hand. !
I have probably been nearer to the top of Mount Etna than any of the cyclists and have also been to the top of Vesuvious. And to the town destroyed by Vesuvious, not Ercolanum but yes, Pompei. Has to be seen to be believed. And I have overnighted once or twice in Taormina at the Hotel Bristol. I have even seen the women in Taormina, dressed in fur coats and with gloves on their hands picking the tangerines off the trees in the square in November, with snow on the ground. Yes, there are places I have not been to such as Capri, Stromboli and Ischia. But don't forget I spent more than twelve years touring the country searching out all the factories where they put drinks in bottles to try and sell them machinery. I used to travel for a fortnight almost every month so on the weekends I had time on my hands to visit all the lovely sights and towns. I was also there as a squaddie from November 1945 to March 1947 Genoa, Bologna, Pola, and Conegliano, and had a good time. Plus from September 1948 to September 1953 in Trieste. I used to boast that I knew Italy better than 90% of the Italians. I even once got tangled up with the Giro to my annoyance but a quick detour and off once more to find a bottler. Did I sell any machinery? quite a bit. Two 20.000 bottles an hour Pasteurisers to Fonti Levissima at 200,000 pounds each, a 20,000 bottles an hour bottle-washer to Peroni for 250,000 pounds and another 164 electronic bottle inspectors at 12000 pounds each to various brewers, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Seven-Up, mineral water bottlers including San Pellegrino, Ferarrelle, Orangina, Recoaro, you name 'em, I sold to them. I've had lunch with Rudi Peroni, met Gianni Agnelli who also owned a Mineral Water Company as well as FIAT. But now that is all in the past and old age is catching up on me fast. Still hoping to be back in Gorizia and Trieste in September for the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Treaty of Paris which ended the AMG control of North East Italy and set up the Free Territory of Trieste. And the rest is history as they say. And Jim Crow and I were together in the same unit in Trieste in 1948/49.
apologies for leading you astray. Our Welshman is called Thomas not Jones and he remains in 2nd spot as the Giro moves into mainland Italy for stage 6. The 135 mile route today starts at the 'toe' in Reggio Calabria to the thermal spa resort of Terme Luigiane, a long way S of Naples.
I note that Larry has never been to Capri. He did not get an invite from 'our Gracie' obviously and there cannot be many bottling plants there. However he may start to enjoy the Giro (from a distance) with a few of his experiences over the years. We shall see.
don't expect to hear from Larry until the sing along is over on Saturday. The stage today goes from West to East with the finish near the Adriatic coast and Bari. Thomas is still second and the UK rider Yates in 3rd.
Having nothing better to do tonight, I decided to take a peek at what Il Piccolo had to offer on the Giro, Roy. So I've copied an article from the web-site of Il Piccolo and e-mailed it to you and Harry. To Harry because of the two excellent photos which accompanied the article.
Il Piccolo says: Ewan and Dempsey star in the county of trulli.
(Trulli is the name of the circular houses with straw roofs one finds down in Puglia, and Alberobello is the capital. I have had lunch a few times in another town there called Faggiano where in one restuarant they serve a very pleasant fassano (pheasant) for lunch and dinner).
Larry could well be our roving reporter for the next 2 weeks ! The trulli houses looked good on the TV coverage yesterday and the crowds were out in Arborello to see the Aussie Caleb Ewan take the stage by half a wheel. Stage 8 continues N near the Adriatic and the top 20 riders are all within a few seconds of the race leader. The Blockhaus climb on Sunday will be a big test and a mass finish is not likely.
today is the second rest day of the Giro following the long climb to the Blockhaus on Sunday. The Columbian Quintana demolished the field and gained what is likely to be top spot at the end on 28th May. Geraint Thomas lost a lot of time after an accident involving a police motor cyclist at the side of the road, and will be hard pressed to get back in contention. Tomorrow is an individual time trial in the Chianti Country !
Apparently there has been a bit of an upset on the climb over the mountains.
A Dutchman, Tom Dumoulin, won the mountain section and competely demolished the expected winner. Dumoulin now has 2'23 over Nairo Quintana, who was completely and roundly beaten on the day. Whatever that means! But I had a squint at Il Piccolo tonight and translated that from the article about the Giro.
Larry will need to be more careful reading Piccolo !Dumoulin did indeed get the edge on Quintana but it was in the 40km time trial on Tuesday (stage 10) not the long haul up to the Blockhaus on Sunday. He kept the pink jersey today in the spa village of Bagno di Romagna where the stage was won by Omar Fraile. Geraint Thomas was the second best performer in the time trial following his crash on Sunday but fell away during today's stage which started near Florence. He now lies in 14th spot overall and will be hard pressed to improve his position.
Stage 12 on Thursday is in and around Bologna ( the eating mecca of Italy) I forecast some honeyed Larry words after he consults Piccolo again.
Roy, how am I supposed to know all the nuances of a bunch of bods riding bikes round Italy. I just saw and translated a little bit of what was published by Il Piccolo.
BUT, you are right when you describe Bologna as the mecca of fine eating. I've got a friend (Luigi) who owns a restuarant there in the centre and I guarantee you the food is superb. BUT, there is a restuarant on the outside of the town - I can't recall the name at the moment but they serve some of the best rani you have ever tasted.
(Rani = frogs, and I don't mean frog's legs but the whole kebabble, although for the best taste you need to ask for the little ones. So sweet and tender).
Headlines in Il Piccolo web-site today; great work by Fraile, Visconti left chewing his fingers.
At the Bagno di Romagna, two races in one: the escape of the morning and the top-ranking men join battle, thanks to Nibali and Pinot, on the last climb of Mountain Fumaiolo, and they succeed in leaving behind two big fish : Thomas of SKY and Kruiijswijk. (If you can make sense of that you're a better man than me!!)
Ref the previous posting, I've remembered the name of the restuarant just outside Bologna where you can eat baby frogs deep-fried in flour. I think it's called -
Il Cacciatore. = The Hunter.
that's more like it Larry ! You are getting the hang of it now and the gastronomic info is very useful too. Nice flat stage today. A sprint finish is on the cards !
Roy, is the Giro d'Italia finished? There's been no news in Il Piccolo for two days now. There was a piece about the Dutchman holding a press conference today but nothing worth mentioning here. Looks like the muscles have seized up on the bikers.
No surprise surprise the Giro is not finished yet. Here's something from Il Piccolo web-site tonight.
Dumolin also wins at Oropa. Keeps the Giro i check. Bibali poor,loses 53 seconds but does not concede. Nibali is nicknamed 'the shark' but has lost almost a minute to Dumoulin: he's at 3'40. But still will not admit he is beaten. Galviria is phenomenal, passes 10 riders and plays poker. And in the city of three colours only Galviria eats. Sorry folks, it all arabic to me.
In the latest instalment in Il Piccolo tonight it says:
Nibale (the Shark) on fire buty at Bergamo Jungels wins. Quintana comes in a flying second after a fall. On Tuesday co0mes Il Stelvio.
(Comment by Larry -- Il Passo dello Stelvio is one of the highest in Italy and you have to go to Bormio (the home of Fonti Levissima) to start. Spectacular scenery. You drive in a sort of crescent and around to Merano and Bolzano. Only ever driven it once but it really is magnificent. Just after you start to leave Bormio you find on your left the sheer face of a mountain and near the top of this mountain from a hole in the walls pours a river. Absolutely spectacular. Oh, and Bormio, which is a Spa, there is a large fountain in the middle of a large square and the water comes up from a natural spring with a temperature of at least 90 degrees celsius. And for the epicureans amongst you, to get to Bormio you have to go to Lake Lecco and up past Sondrio. Just on the outskirts of Sondrio on the road to Bormio I found a small restuarant and for lunch had a plate of marinaded chamois. Now that is delicious.
I know of another place somewhat similar over in Turkey in the Bursa valley. Again that is a place where folks go for cures and holidays and each hotel has a large swimming pool in the basement. Each room is provided with a towelling bathrobe and you are invited to partake of the pleasures of the pool. The water from the pool comes out of a hole in the rocky face of the cellar and it is pleasurably warm. But oh, so pleasurable and relaxing after a day on the road. Once in the water you never want to leave. All the hotels are centrally heated from the hot springs in the winter. There is also a large lake heated naturally.
Piccolo and Larry are doing a great job. I will be in spirit with him in Bormio ( a previous old stamping ground) for me. Not around very much for a couple more days. Grandson number one married at the weekend and enforced absence from computer !
According to Nibali he is not interested in winning the Cup. He is interested more in getting a red jersey (whatever that is!)
An old stamping ground Roy? You've got my curiosity working overtime. And if folks want to know how I seem to know the area so well, I have nephews and nieces-in-law living in Sondrio and have spent many a pleasant weekend up there when working in Italy. And if one takes the Passo Aprika from Sondrio, one can arrive in Trento.
Thank you Roy for your pieces on the Giro.. Having only Freeview myself, I haven't been able to watch either live action or the evening summaries. I've seen some great photographs of the steep zig-zag passes on-line in the magazines but it isn't the same.
Thanks tto Larry too for the bachground.
To be different from the practice in the Tour de France, the colour of the jerseys awarded in the various classifications is also different; the red jersey goes to the leader in the sprint points . The Pink jersey is worn by the leader in the general (overall) classification. and ultimately to the overall winner.
This photo shows both pink and red:
Which other sport attracts so many people for so long - with free entry?
But I'm not so sure about the pink.
A snippet or two from Il Piccolo web-site today:
Nibali breaks the enchanting blue with an exploit and wins the stage of the Stelvio and gets back in the race for the red jersey. Dumoulin saves the jersey but now Quintana and the Shark are hunting him down. Nibali (the Shark) in seventh heaven: "and now to beat Dumoulin and Quintana".
In the photo posted by Harry on the signs at the side of the road one sees the word ISEO. They manufacture serrature (locks) there. I don't suppose many of you will know of the Lago d'Iseo, but it is a beautiful long lake just after the turn off on the Milan-Venice motorway for Bergamo. I've spent a couple of lovely weekends in Iseo, and gone boating on the lake. At the top end of the lake going up into the mountains there is a large mineral water company I sold machines to called Boario.
a lovely day for stage 18 in the Dolomites. Eurosport show it all with excellent commentary. The pink jersey leader Dumoulin is holding on to his fairly slender lead with just 3 stages to go. One of these is an individual time trial. Just behind are the Italian Nibali and the Columbian Quintana. Must have a look at the betting odds !
And on the pages of the Piccolo web-site tonite there is a photo showing Nibali, Quintana and Dumoulin climbing up the Dolomites. Under the photo is written:
"Tom from the Dolomites can now see the Madunina" (Larry, whatever that is!).
Dumoulin resists the attacks of Nibali and Quintana and teases them:
"You are at risk of losing the podium".
On the Piancavallo section the upset of the Giro has been enough. Dumoulin loses one minute to Nibali and Quintana now has the rose jersey. Six riders in 90 seconds for the victory. Nibali indicates the way: "Force in the small light hours but at Asiago I need to attack Dumoulin. (Don't ask me! I just translate what I see on the Piccolo web-site, Larry)
could it be Pinot (without Grigio) with just 2 stages to come ? Am looking forward to Larry's Piccolo Speak late tonight(I think he is getting the hang of it just a little)The 29km time trial from Monza on Sunday will hold the attention to see who will take La Maglia Rosa and who else is on the podium at the Duomo. My forecast tomorrow morning.
From the page of Il Piccolo web-site tonight. (Yes Roy, getting the hang of it,but still not enthusiastic).
There's a good photo of a group shedding sweat on the road to Asiago with a sub-title
"The wind of orange blows on the pink shirt". At Asiago the winner is Pinot (too big to go in a bottle) but Dumoulin defends against the attacks, limits the damage and is favourite for the final timed-race. Nibali at the end of his efforts, "Energy reduced for everybody but we'll give it a try". The rivals prepare for the final timed-race. As Roy says above, 29 km timed-race. Only twice before has the previous year's winner won again: Moser in 1984 and Hesjedal in 2002.
I think Dumoulin will have a really good time trial and will make up the 53 seconds to take the Maglia Rosa. Pinot to come second and Quintana third.
A really great day yesterday on the way to Asiago with all those hairpins between the trees. Pictorially the big cycle events are great TV.... and the Tour and Spanish Vuelta yet to come !
Dumoulin wins the Giro d'Italian, beating Quintana and Nibai who finish at 31" and 40".
Nibali (The Shark) recriminates the time he lost at the Blockhaus and at Oropa. Quintana (a Colombian) reveals the problems he suffered with his heath in the decisive heats.
OLE', it's over. No more taxing of this poor brain trying to figure out what the hell I was reading and trying to translate. Still, like Roy says, there's the Tour of Edinburgh and the Tour of Skelmersdale to come so hook on.