15 May 2010
I thought I was watching the Giro.
It was looking more like Paris-Roubaix though.
Impossible of course, because that race is in April.
It’s May. This ís the Giro.
This was the stage with an arrival in the town Montalcino right?
The town that is situated in the beautiful wine region called Tuscany?
Then why did every cyclist cross the finish line dead tired and dirty?
Dirty and brown to such a degree that they were hardly recognizable.
In Paris-Roubaix you need 259 km and over 50 km of cobblestones for that.
The Italians managed to create the same effect today within only 30 km.
Without any cobblestones.
They needed only one road for it.
Name: Strade Bianche.
I beg your pardon?
Yes, the ‘road’ consists of sand, mud and gravel.
Description: Hell for cyclists, fun for spectators.
Details: Parts of 16% and 15% are very normal there.
If you want to come through it unharmed,
you not only need to be strong, but a good climber as well.
The road to Montalcino is not a road.
If it was a road, then it would be a road to hell.
If there was sunshine, then maybe it would have been okay.
It was raining cats and dogs though.
Cyclists crossed the finish line looking like mineworkers.
Italians love to honour someone every stage.
If it isn’t Fausto Coppi or Bartali, then it’s Pantani.
This stage they literally went back to the fifties.
Every cyclist crossed the finish line completely broken:
they got mud in their eyes, could only see vague images of each other,
didn’t know where they were riding anymore, if they were going ahead at all.
You couldn’t even see whether stage winner Cadel Evans
was wearing his rainbow jersey or not.
Cyclists witnessed hell today, literally.
”Everything for the show” is what the Italians say.
Glass of wine, anyone?
© Graham Watson