After an extremely wet day chasing Il Lombardia the day before (and for the riders, racing), everyone got all dolled up and headed to central Milano for the big last day of the school year party…which of course is used to present to media, riders, teams, the world – the ardors that await in 2013. In its festive atmosphere, the presentation serves as a Puritan warning as well – the offseason starts today (for many), but don’t party too hard, because the new season nears.
Once again, our Lombardia was marked by a fantastic stay at Il Perlo Panorama. After a quiet morning and a great chat with Carlo, we got on the road. As always, we left ruing the fact that we only got to ride one day. I love that area very much, but if there’s one thing I’ll shout from the rooftops as a monster negative? The traffic. Oh dear heavens above, it’s a nightmare getting around that area, so give yourself an extra three days to get anywhere. After a journey of many hours, we haphazardly parked, then had the ghost of earlier this year return – everything we own is in the car, what if someone breaks in? Realizing that a little bit of extra weight on my back would be better than losing everything, I loaded my computer in the camera bag, hid the external hard drives, and off we marched to the dance. Credit for that goes to Ashley.
First up? Taylor Phinney. The young American had a storming season with some big wins and a bunch of near misses. His potential is limitless and only matched by his staggering size. We rounded the corner, and he was the first person we noticed – a full head above the rest of the assembled crowd.
Important people, riders, and media were left to mill about on the sidewalk and in the street, because no one was allowed in until noon. It made for some nice fish in a barrel.
Giovanni Visconti on the phone – a common sight for everyone involved.
Team Sky’s Sergio Henao.
2012 Giro d’Italia 3rd place overall: Thomas De Gendt.
Stephen Cummings scowls.
It must be awkward to have a conversation with people like me click, click, clicking only a few feet away. Most seemed to handle it pretty well though.
At noon, the floodgates opened, the stampede was on, and everyone hurried in to wait some more…and pose for pictures.
Just past the entrance way were two nice images set up as backgrounds for the photo opps the riders would be subjected to. Normally, there’s nothing too interesting about this, except in this case, they were OUR pictures.
Ashley poses in front of the picture she shot in Assisi.
Unlike last year’s incident where the Giro came into possession of the Giau shot by questionable means, this year, it was a massively proud moment for us. I can’t say enough for how well the Giro has treated us since their mistake.
We went from angry, pissed off people that had been used this time last year to nodding happily when we chatted with Michele Acquarone a little bit later, and he said: “You’re part of the family now.” It does feel that way – we’re happy and honored to be a part of the Giro family.
The 2012 Giro d’Italia Best Young Rider: Rigoberto Uran.
I’m not a big fan of the whole rider walking in front of a background to have a picture taken thing, but I couldn’t help it. It was a never-ending chuckle to shoot a rider with our images acting as the canvas. Still, it was only fun for a couple of minutes, then I left for something a little less crowded.
Paolo Tiralongo made an impression.
Samuel Sanchez pauses to answer some questions.
Joaquim Rodriguez looked like a completely different person from the last time I saw him. In fact, he looked like a Dapper Dan Man.
In the presentation hall, we found even bigger versions of our images on two sides of the room – more smiles and a little bit of clucking – I know we can do better, can’t wait for next year to do better, etc.
The Giro has a beautiful trophy, no?
Then, the fun started. Early on, I noticed that four riders were wired up for action: Mark Cavendish, Vincenzo Nibali, Ryder Hesjedal, and Alberto Contador. Curious.
I also saw what looked to be a large buffet on the stage. Maybe there was a different room for the presentation? Surely, they won’t present in front of a big line of food. This is the Giro, not the American Legion Hall.
Things got even more suspicious when a guy in some cooking garb handed Ashley his phone and asked her to take a picture of him. She thought he was some guy working at the presentation, but then a huge crowd of photographers came to take pictures of him. Interesting.
That was Davide. Davide has a super famous restaurant in Milano that’s booked every night until 2015!
Davide would be showing four cyclists how to cook…risotto…on stage.
Of course, the four were Nibali, Hesjedal, Cavendish, and Contador.
What followed was quite amusing. We watched four cyclists cook, well, rice.
For two, it was clear that they weren’t exactly chefs. I get the impression that Nibali and Contador haven’t had to cook for themselves too much, whereas the two English speakers, Cavendish and Hesjedal, looked quite at home with a boiling pot and a wooden spoon.
Cavendish was happy to don the toque, but they told him to take it off.
I bet Cavendish never thought he’d be cooking for a camera.
Ryder gets some pointers from Davide.
Later on, while chatting with 8th place overall at the Vuelta, Laurens Ten Dam, in Chianti with inGamba Tours, I found out that Mr. Hesjedal is quite a hand in the kitchen, and has been since his U23 days.
When the risotto was done, there was more posing, and some toasts…
Not too much else to add here – it was an amusing half an hour, and the pictures do a good job of telling the story.
After the last glass was emptied, the cooking line transformed into a proper stage, and the route presented. The presentation was spectacular. Two fantastic, goosebump-inducing movies leading into the route presentation proper reminded me and hopefully everyone, why our sport, why this race, is the best there is.
Ivan Basso gives his thoughts on the 2013 route to the cameras.
I won’t delve into the route details – the PEZ crew will have all that and more very soon – but as two photographers, I know we’ll have the chance to shoot in some incredible locations next May. That much is certain.
As we were leaving, we had a moment to chat with Peter Stetina. We asked him if he’d be heading back to the Giro next year, and unsurprisingly, the talented young Garmin rider was quick to turn his attention to the Grand Boucle – a race he hasn’t had the chance to start yet. “It sounds like they’re going to pull all the stops out at the Tour in 2013. I want to make my Tour debut!”
Fair enough. In fact, that sounds like a good idea. We’ll try to one up you though, Peter. I think we might go for the double next year. Here’s to hoping a couple superstars do the same.
Viva il Giro!
For lots more, check out Jered’s photos at Flickr!