Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Beautiful scenery and sunny weather is part of the scenario that you enjoy in the Lago di Garda area . Today i started out and came across Liquigas guys in the form of "Silvo Smzd and Vincenzo Nibali who were visiting a store that was showcasing the bikes they use . earlier i had been in the store with my bike as i needed to replace the "chain drop guard" that i had acquired which was too big to stay in position .

When i went in the store earlier with my bike i was told to put it outside ! Fat chance as i had already been told several "stolen bike stories" from that area and i needed the bike to show what i wished to replace had they the item in stock . On a scale of ten the shop scores zero and not being an Italian speaker the use of mime was the only alternative available .

Craig is the superlative mechanic who worked for Bjarne Riis's team before joining Radio Shack and when i showed him a squeak told me the solution . He also related several stories from his time with Linda Mac Cartney's Team and how Paul was also involved for awhile before that team folded .

Rode to the podium with Rory Sutherland and was told he had not met Tim Roe the other Aussie in this event . No doubt they will have met up during today's parcours .

Towards the end of the etappe the race passed through a couple of tunnels and as they were slightly uphil and the tank was about empty i was happy to get back out in the sun after 5 km of dismal lighting . Fortunately for me there was little traffic and i was only passed by a couple of cars in the tunnel . Returning to Riva del Garda after the finish of the race i passed a speed indicator that flashed up 68kph before the next vehicle moved through the sensor at 73kph . BMC's van showed no interest when i pulled alongside asking for a lift through the tunnel . Thus i pushed as hard as i could knowing that i had passed many vehicles in the 8 kilometres from the Arrivo . Those vehicles were now free to drive at the posted speed ( can an Italian drive below a speed limit ? ) now that they had a straight road after the switchback corners of earlier .

On the switchbacks i had managed to catch the Radio Shack Pullman that started at the same time and pass on the inside as he slowly rounded a severe downward bend . The driver may recall our previous encounter where i followed him from the Col Lauteret towards Bourg Oisans during the Dauphinee Libere and he only got away after passing the exit road to Les des Alpes and the road started climbing for a while .

Later i had to pull up sharply when the BMC bus was forced to pull over by oncoming traffic . After the tunnel the road continued downhill into Riva where traffic forced a dramatic reduction of speed .

Saw the sprint finish of the Etappe with Thoma Voeckler the winner and was pleased to see that he changed from the white uniform to his French Champion Maillot for the ceremony . Scarpone congratulated Thoma after they passed the line and i got to do a High five with Thoma as he returned towards the podium and collected his water bottle also . Bruno the speaker has difficulty pronouncing "Voeckler" , offering a variety of pronounciations in a matter of seconds , "vecler" being the most common .

When i crossed the finish line an hour earlier Bruno was kind enough to give the audience a few words about my being the Australian that has come to the "Trentino" for the past 13 years but failed once again to let them know the "raison d'etre " , that i am doing this for "Challenged / Disabili Sport" ! Bruno's wife is English so have had the chance on Tuesday to remind her to relay the message so i guess he is another guy who fails to listen to his wife ?

Not looking forward to riding uphill to the start in the morning at Molina but will enjoy returning to the area of Madonna which was where Pantani finished his Giro d'Italia riding in 1999 by pulling out of the event .

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