– By Dario Cioni –
I first did a lonely altitude training camp at the Passo dello Stelvio. The fact that I was alone, was not too bad, as I have been at the same Hotel (Quarto Pirovano) since 2001 and I have known most of the hotel personnel for years, so it is easy to get a late lunch, clothes washed, and even emergency pick ups…last year I was stuck in nearby Livigno under a summer thunderstorm so I called them to ask about the weather at the top of the mountain. Well at 2760 meters above sea level it can snow quite easily and it was snowing then. So they set out to come and pick me up halfway down.
From my training camp I went directly to the Dauphinи, a classic pre-Tour stage race. It was my first participation in the race, but I really enjoyed it. I was also riding well, climbing with the best riders most of the time. I destroyed my GC hopes by bonking on the longest stage….too bad, but I was happy with my performance in the other stages. Cadel did very well, finishing 2nd overall, but the whole team was riding great, so we are very confident going in to the Tour.
After this I had two very full days with the Tour reconaissance. We rode 2 stages: Embrun to Prato Nevoso and Cuneo to Jausiers.
We were not very lucky as we passed the most part of the 48 hours in the car, up and down mountain passes. We could not ride over the Colle dell’Agnello as the road was closed, so we drove up, back down and round to the other side for a total of 400Kms of small mountain roads. By the time we hit the road on the bike, it was 15:00 and soon after it started raining.
The following day we rode the next stage, but managed to ride only 10Km on dry road, then a thunderstorm made things very cold up on the top of the Colle della Lombarda. We drove to the top of the Col de La Bonette where it was snowing so I opted for driving down, while Cadel rode the downhill.
Two days at home then back to Stelvio, but this time I had good company as I was with Cadel, Popo, Mario, and Christophe. Summy and Sevvy arrived on Sunday, after the end of Tour de Suisse. This time we were very lucky with the weather, super all week and we did a good amount of training. I think one of the best moments of the trip was our ride to the top of the glacier, at 3400m! We all really enjoyed it.
After many kilometers of hard work, the most part climbing up and down the Stelvio Pass, we had 4 days at home, but not much time to rest as I had a lot of old work to attend to and was trying to get ahead on things that need to be done in July, as I will only get back on the 27th…
If you are undecided on who to support……..any Silence Lotto rider!!
• See Dario’s personal website: CioniDario.com
• Buy some of Dario’s own Olive Oil: DarioCioni.com
• See the official team website: Silence-Lotto.com