The season now has really ended and I’m on the way home on the Adriatic highway taking me into the small town of the fishermen: Fano. There will be several months without roadside and with the memories of the good moments chasing pro races but today was the Giro dell’Emilia moment.
A classic I love, which was a good excuse for a fantastic day out with friends. A phone call yesterday evening was a good opportunity to invite my friend Salvo out with me to chase a pro race. He is not a cycling fan but he already followed me during last Giro d’Italia in an epic stage on the Galibier with snow. So, this time with good weather it was easy to convince him for the Giro dell’Emilia, because he already knows it’s first of all a good excuse for a day off from routine and chasing races always comes out with something fun.
Modena is the new starting town of the Giro dell’Emilia.
This year the departure of this race took place from Modena, a nice town in the middle of the Emilia region, not too far from Bologna. The starting list was perhaps less interesting than other years but still there are some good riders to contend one of the last big chances of the season. Luckily the weather was fine today and, despite it being a bit cold in the morning we had nothing to complain about for the rest of the day – only the second time this year I’ve chased a race with no snow or rain!
Fabio Aru is one of most watched riders today, the young Italian rider wore the white jersey for a number of days at the Giro and was strong in Emilia last year.
Getting ready for the start.
In Modena we had to meet another good friend, Angelo Giangregorio, the photographer co-operating with Pez, who wrote a beautiful story about Dirk Bellemakers’ last race at the Giro di Lombardia.
We shared a few words about Lombardia, some words on the day to come and then we were off to start another day in the group. The plan was to watch the departure and to move quickly to the finish on the San Luca hill to enjoy the party organized by the race officials for the benefit of the journos. It takes place before the final five laps of the final circuit in which the race climbs for five times the 2,5 km with slopes well over 10%. It’s a semi classic for climbers, no doubt.
The party offers a sort of local selection, including salami and cheeses; but especially appetizing today were the vegetables conserved in oil; the coffee and of course back to the road for the final.
I love to watch the first passage down below the climb’s approach, so we had to descend the entire hill and then, passage after passage, climb it again to get the best position on the road for the last passage, the decisive one. The group today was not crowded, less than 150 riders, but was anyway an emotion to watch them coming from far; always the same kind of emotion, a big one.
Passage after passage the group loses elements while the many people on the roadside, besides and under the arches were enjoying in different ways the sunny day. The barbecue was the best attraction for Salvo who was already planning it for the next opportunity.
After some time I lost both Salvo and Angelo and I continued to spot as for my original plan with the final mustering point defined as the car park on top of the climb. I gave one of my two cameras to Salvo asking him to enjoy and to do his best; when I met him after the race he was upset for the final result of his work but I have to say that was better than expected and you can see some very good picture in this story thanks to him.
About the race I can tell you that the first three passages were made quite slowly but in the final two we could enjoy a great challenge. The impression was that Lampre had the upper hand in the race; Scarponi did a very good job and Ulissi finalized it, controlling quite easily the contenders in one of the most difficult parts of the race at 800 m to the finish during the last lap when Bongiorno tried a hard move right in front of me.
Bongiorno makes his move.
Now, on the way home, the light is finally leaving the day. Salvo is driving fast towards home and we already said goodbye to Angelo heading north. I can honestly say that these two guys are my good friends; one met on the web (Angelo) and one by other chance some years ago. I don’t know if we will have again the luck to live another day out as we did, but the memory of the hours spent together will warm the cold weeks we are going to face ahead of a winter with no race chasing.
Angelo and Salvo, ready for next year?
The cycling is over. The sunny warm days are now over. I feel just the same as when I was young and returning to school; but looking at the pictures I shot with my friends, yes, I know the best is yet to come. And another race is already in planning.
Giro dell’Emilia’13 Results:
1 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 5:00:53
2 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:01
3 Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
4 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:04
5 Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox 0:00:06
6 Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox 0:00:08
7 Mauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 0:14:00
8 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:27:00
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:29:00
10 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:40:00