almost time for the start of this years race. The starting stages are in Israel with a Jerusalem time trial on Friday,4th May. The race can be followed every day on Eurosport.
The latter stages are in NE Italy but not near TS. I am anticipating some regular photo coverage from our webmaster and some caustic comment from the usual source.
I am off to Sicily on Thursday and will be viewing the three days it is there along with the sights of course!
One of the friends I am going with is a keen Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta man. He also studied geology at university so will have plenty to occupy the other six days.
Surely the race called Il Giro d'Italia should commence in its country of origin. There would be no objection to them then having a jolly in Israel - or anywhere else - as a finishing point.
They even started the Tour de France in England. I thought we had liberated ourselves from the French a couple of hundred years ago. Bad enough that these two wheelers should block roads for a day and a half let alone start their jollies in another country. And why don't cyclists still not pay road tax? Where I live - Cheadle Hulme - the roads are continually occupied by groups of two-wheelers on Sundays spoiling the day for motorists who are taxed on all sides not least for parking. Especially in the local hospital.
Paula, I'll be in Trieste from 29 June to 5 July, with all my friends and in-laws to see. I'm hoping the sun won't be too hot.
Sicily? Know it well. I've even got a couple of lumps of lava from near the top of Etna, picked up when they were still hot after one eruption. You should take a trip to see the mattata del tonno one year. Take a trip to see Enna. The town on the top of two mountains where you have to cross between the two halves on a bridge to do your shopping. Or go to Caltanisetta to buy some special wines. Fascinating island is Sicily. Even got an old Greek town there from some hundreds of years ago. Hope you have a nice trip.
Larry, you won't be surprisedat this – but I don't agree. "Road tax", there's no such thing; it was abolished years ago. We pay excise duty on whisky, beer and cider etc which can make us tiddly but not on a cup of tea which won't. Similarly we pay excise duty on cars according to their size and capacity to pollute but not on bikes which don't.
Cycling is now, by far, the biggest participation sport. If our regal progress in our car is delayed by a few seconds it either doesn't matter or we should have started earlier.
Some cyclists, of course , are pillocks but few cyclists are not also motorists; the pillocks will be the ones who behave without concern for other road users, the concept of a safe breaking distance, and the purpose of speed limits; “Clarkson clowns” they're called; so on balance I'd rather encounter them on their bikes than in their cars.
with a rest day on Monday after arrival from Israel, the Giro begins its first of 3 days in Sicily. Start point is Catania and the arrival is Caltagirone, halfway up Mt Etna. Eurosport will be showing the whole day so some afternoon TV is on the cards ! How is it going Paula ?
The start of the first Italian stage of the Giro in Catania:
Just got back from Sicily last night delayed due to French air traffic control on strike! Had a detour via Switzerland, Germany, Belgium before returning to Luton but there we go!
Saw 3 km from end of first day in Sicily in the square in Caltagirone. The crowds were wild with one local policeman trying to control the crowds. They were of course ignoring him! The atmosphere was amazing. We were chatting to 2 Eurosport photographers who kept us updated with where the riders were at the moment. Will try to attach photo of me in official Giro t shirt and cap. Day 2 was too far away from us so we did go to Etna but the weather was very cold and thick cloud so did not venture near the summit. Drove back on the Giro route and with 24 hours to go they were still laying new tarmac on the roads......talk about last minute. Day 3 we went to Piazza Armerina where the organisation was much better. The whole town was closed off 2 hours before the riders were due but the police allowed us to leave the car at the side of the road, walk into town watch the ride then walk back. Brilliant!
Good experience. Shame about the weather which was no where near as good as U.K. but visited lots of places and got a feel for the island. The locals were warm and friendly and put up with my form of spoken Italian!
Cannot find out how to add a photo so will send to Harry.
The photos are reduced from Paula's original the sign by the arrow says "Tappa 6" ie Stage 6.
Thanks Harry you are a star!
And what is strange about this Giro is that, apparently, an Englishman is well in the lead at the moment.
A pair of stages in Friuli (the nearest to TS in this years Giro) Yates still leads going into todays stage but the almost 2000m Monte Zoncolan has gradients of more than 20% !
The wedding will have happened with the Cup Final to follow. It is a lovely sunny day too.
Stage 15 Sunday in the Dolomites ! Yates still in pole position with Froome making a strong bid to win in Rome next Sunday. My money is on Dumoulin, last year's winner.
Not much comment from Larry this year !
As I write this the riders are approaching the Passo Tre Croci, the highest point of the stage but there seems to be nothing as steep as they met yesterday. I don't have Eurosport so I watch the evening account.
The stage ends at Sappada which I remember as the first place where we went skiing. Since we also went with army skis, which we could borrow for free but which were over-long and narrow, intended for cross-country skiing, it could well have been the last time we tried it. Sappada's pistes were narrow, running through woods. I was forced to go headlong down each straight bit, fall down at the bottom and zag down the next leg. Luckily one of the old hands advised us to hire down-hill skis and we went to Ravascletto.