The course for the day’s adventure is mostly flat with the experts predicting a mass sprint and some of the riders we spoke to looking forward to a relatively stress free day in the middle of the bunch.
The day’s stage started on Lido di Jesolo, a little bit around the coast from Venice and after being well and truly lost on the way in last night (or was it early this morning) waking up to a view of high rise hotels stretching as far as the eye could see, was a bit of a surprise.
The crowds come here for the beach and just 100m away from PEZ central, was the inviting water and sun beds.
Maybe next time. We have a stage to follow
After the opening on Venice yesterday, it was time to do some post mortems on the opening day, and who better to start with than the boss himself, Angelo Zomegnan.
We asked him if he was happy with yesterday’s opening.
“It isn’t important whether I’m happy, but I look at the others. I satisfied that the people are happy, the fans are happy and the cyclists are happy.”
Basso was having trouble making his way out of the sign on area, but stopped for a few comments for PEZ. Was he happy with the way the team rode yesterday?
“Yeah, it’s not nice when you lose time, but it’s not bad. I lost 55seconds in the prologue the year that I won the Giro, so for me it’s no problem yesterday.”
After being released from the death grip of an elderly well wisher hanging over the barriers, Basso made his way slowly the press line after the sign in.
Menchov said he was happy with where he was, more or less the same as the men he’ll be challenging on the GC
One topic of conversation this morning were Cavendish’s comments from before the TTT that he thought that Garmin were being disrespectful to the race by concentrating all of their efforts on taking the TTT and not making a big enough deal about the overall in the race itself.
The Team Garmin Slipstream Guys didn’t seem to be particularly fussed (outwardly anyway) with Cavendish’s comments. If Tyler Farrar gets over the current Maglia Rosa in the sprints this week, we may expect there to be some return fire from somewhere in the Argyle camp.
There’s nothing like making a grand entrance to focus the attention, so the Garmin boys rolled in to today’s sign-on, on a fleet of custom Felt bikes. Nothing unusual there, except they were all ‘cruisers’.
Not much chance of failing the UCI’s minimum weight test, but those tubes may be troublesome on the 3:1 check.
As for the TTT itself, the team took a lot of positives away from their ride. GT first-timer Cameron Meyer gave us the run down.
“It’s great working with guys like Bradley Wiggins, Christian Vandevelde and David Millar and they have been really helpful to me. I really enjoyed it and I think the team rode super yesterday. The positives were that Julian Dean has just come back from an injury, David Millar has just come off surgery, there’s also me who hasn’t raced since the track worlds, so bringing all of that together and giving us a few more weeks of training, we will be 100% for the Tour de France.”
Even the ‘boss’ got into the swing of things. The president of Felt bikes, Bill Duehring, was in town from his home base of Southern California to check up on the squad.
“The core of this company has always been about racing. We’ve put a lot of time and money into development for racing. We say, race on Sunday, build a bike on Monday. The information that we share with the athletes is important for bicycle development. When Garmin came in alongside Slipstream, they took this team to the next level. We partner with Garmin in promotions, marketing etc back in the States. This partnership helps us as well as the R and D support we get from working with the team.”
On a bike like that, I’m calling you “Big Bill”
Bettini was having a family day out. His prediction? “Cavendish… Or, Petacchi. One of the two, but I think Cavendish.”
By chance I took a pic yesterday of a father and son who were wearing the famous donkey ears common to all Marzio Bruseghin fans. Today when I met them again and asked their names, it turns out it is his family, come along for the first few days to lend some support.
The family lives around 15km from tomorrow’s stage finish in Valdobbiadene and mum, Bruna told me I must make sure I try out the prosecco when we are there tomorrow. “Marzio will, but only after he finishes racing.”
Raffaele, in front, is Marzio Bruseghin nephew. The rest of the support crew is Stefano, Bruseghin’s sister Sabrina and his mum, Bruna.
With his supporters known for their crazy hats, it was somewhat ironic that Bruseghin himself didn’t follow the lead of several members of the team and wear a sun hat to the sign on.
Gasparotto would be active late in the stage today.
Before the start today, I tapped Davide Rebellin for a prediction (he said Garmin yesterday) and today it was Petacchi.
Rebellin may not be able to walk 10m without being stopped by fans for pics (or press for tips) but he had his money on this man today.
For a look at what the riders would be doing, PEZ drove the course today ahead of the race.
The Week 1 PEZ crew. Matt busy at the wheel looking for that next black-on-pink arrow.
Being smack bang in the coastal lagoon areas, the terrain is dead flat and marked by big open fields. The narrow roadway is raised and with the wind already blowing, if one team decided to go crazy today, it could make things uncomfortable at the back of the group.
Before passing through Monfalcone, a quick rest stop seemed in order. This group were well into their lunch and were only too happy top share their seafood and vino (only a sip!)
Franco Pellizotti was on home turf today so his supporters were out in force along the roadside.
Once the course makes the southerly turn towards Trieste, the roads were completely free of cars (we’d had oncoming traffic at various stages up until now, so no F1 impersonations in the hire car) and we started the steady climb to Sistiana. From there, the run down into Trieste and the Istrian peninsula is just fantastic.
Just pop on through here, and you see the Castle at Miramare
The Castle at Miramare marks the foot of the descent and the entrance to the wide, flat seaside run into Trieste. At all times of the year, the Triestini can be found tucked into the rocks, out of the wind, sunning themselves in a ridiculously small amount of clothing.
While the riders were still passing the ‘Friars’ out the road and were yet to hit the bump that I’m calling “today’s climb” we pulled the PEZ mobile into the press centre in one of the ferry terminals that line the waterfront.
Trieste is one of the most beautiful ports around and with the stage finish line right in front of the magnificent Piazza Unita d’Italia and another fantastic day of sunshine, it really has been a great start to the Centenary Giro d’Italia.