is usually warm and sunny at this time of year , and so it proved as I arrived mid day on Tuesday last . The afternoon was going to be the Team Time Trial which is somewhat unusual for this four day event . In my 12 visits over the 14 seasons I have been able to visit , I have seen Individual but not Team Time Trials .
As I was riding from Arco to the start line in Riva del Garda I came across a variety of teams at their Hotel preparing to ride off to view the parcours for this event . Once again it was a pleasure to meet so many of the team helpers whom I have come to know over the past 15 seasons . During the winter there had been a few of them swapping teams and during the course of the four days I would find Nick had moved from HTC to a new team and Leoni ( soigneur to Marco ) was with a new team . In fact some of the racers had also changed teams but that is the way of the ProTour teams and the state of Road Racing over the generations .
Whilst chatting with Al Ballan at BMC , I came across Timothy Roe , whom I had not come across before , as this was his first Protour Team in Europe . After the TTT I came across Allesandro warming down and he told me that they had run the best time at that point , and so it proved later , that they had won the stage ! Looking through the team listings I was able to pinpoint 5 Aussies , during the afternoon , I was able to speak with all and was delighted to find Matthew Lloyd amongst the Lampre Team . He was saying that he was there to help Michelle Scarponi , last year’s winner , and Damiano Cunego , one of their prolific and leading racers . Rory Sutherland was revisiting the race after appearing here last year and in the team was a new guy to me, Jon Clarke. Champion Systems , a new team to me , brought Will Clarke and Cameron Wurf . Good to catch up with Nico Roche also , he is with AG2R and some of his helpers and team mates I had met in previous seasons .
Interestingly I also caught up with Max Sciandri whom BMC brought as their Director Sportif for this event . Last time I had chatted with him was when he was racing in the Giro d’Italia , some years back . Of course after 15 seasons I can remember most faces but some of the names escape me and thus when you see them dressed as “ civilians “ you scratch your head , trying to recall whom the face was and which team , in the effort to bring back their name . Max Codol rode past me in the team parking area , and I was happy to call his name , bearing in mind that 10 years ago I was mixing him up with Oscar Camerzind !
Camping near Mori that night I had taken the precautions of having extra bedding and the tent under cover . Rain was intermittent and it was colder than expected with Wednesday morning proving to be overcast at the “ Partenza ” area where I enjoyed catching up with Scarponi , Basso , Cunego , Szmyd , Di Luca and the Aussies amongst the racers and Morizzio Fondriest and Guiseppe Guerini amongst the visitors . Angelo Z. of RCS , no longer the head honcho of the Giro d’Italia was happy to chat in English but of course on the subject of the “ Cities fit for Cycling “ Campaign fobbed me off to the new directorate . Seems that the Giro will not be helping Cyclists by publicizing the “ Cities fit for Cycling ” campaign which has taken Italy by storm also .
In past years I have arrived at the Trentino by bike and so have ridden the whole parcours in the same way as the Racers , but this time with the car it was a few kilos down the road before the start . Then when the race was under way I headed to Trento and the shop owned previously by Francesco Moser , then Gibo Simoni
and currently by Alfredi , the brother of Francesco and Uncle of Gibo . Tried to solve the problem of the bearings in my “ Rolf Vector rear wheel “ but found that the lock on the cassette had seized . No amount of persuasion would release it so headed off to the finish to park the car before riding some of the hilly part of the course .
Wednesday’s etappe finished with an uphill but before that was a circuit over two GPM of about 2000m , so took off around the parcours . Passed through the first GPM at Palou on dry roads but as I arrived at the second the snow was coming down .
Cut short the circuit and headed back towards Palou where I waited in snowy conditions for the racers to arrive . By this time it was throwing it down and #165 went through alone with a few in the chasing group . As Matt Lloyd started up the hill towards me I thought he was Cunego and shouted out “ Damiano “ then spotted the Aussie Champ rings on Matt’s sleeves . Think he heard me apologise as he said nothing about this mistake on Thursday morning when we were chatting . Thursday he said that he thought he would not finish the race that day , but did persevere and pulled out on Friday morning but helped at the feed zone before heading off to the airport .
The first racing stage on the Wednesday , was won by Damiano Cunego after #165 stayed away for a lot of the day , of course , BMC managed to retain the GC a day longer .
Racing in these conditions was no fun for the racers but fortunately on the descent from the second GPM the weather cleared and they arrived at the finish in Cold and clear but overcast conditions .
Thursday morning started out overcast and cold but as I headed off to visit Rossano , Monte Balluno and Trevisio it cleared for a while . With visits to various “ sponsors ” in mind I found time to ride around Cittedella and Rossano and as luck would have it found myself riding with a guy on a new “ Whistle ” who taught “ Physically Challenged students ” in a nearby school . Late afternoon the weather deteriorated as I sought a bar with RAI sport on TV , but found them showing a repeat of the 1984 Milano San Remo race ! No idea why and got no answers on Friday when I posed the question to those involved with RAI on the Pordoi .
Fourth day is a separate report !