Milano-San Remo – on The Poggio

9DF000F2-5B66-4AB6-99C8-B7280FDCCFFBGot up nice and early to yet another beautiful day. Had the usual cup of tea in the campervan, then headed to the cafe for a cappuccino. The view from our outside table was incredible – sparkling blue water with San Remo in the distance.
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We walked around the town a bit, finding a small store for some bread and tomatoes. At one point I saw a cat lying on a bench – I actually watched for a few moments to make sure it was breathing and I hadn’t just taken a photo of a dead cat.
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As the day progressed more and more cyclists were coming up the hill and the town was getting more and more crowded. The Poggio is a super important place in a super important race – the climb to the town isn’t very steep or long, although it is all switchbacks – the issue is that it’s the longest one-day race of the year and by the time they get to the top the racers have already covered over 300 km.
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I popped into the wine store (the one where they have hoses coming out of the walls to fill your bottles from) and was asked if I wanted to try some. Did I say No? Ok – trick question – of course I didn’t. I expected to get a small sample of 3 or 4 wines, but was poured a whole glass of one, then sat down at the table with two italian gentlemen who chatted with me.
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The store had put up a display of cycling memorabilia and one of the fellows was in several of the photos signed by famous Italian racers. He was a masseuse to many of the racers from twenty and thirty years ago, and it was very interesting talking with them.
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Just below the cafe there’s a scallop-shell marking for the Camino di Santiago – boy old saint James sure got around!
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We got a spectacular spot to watch from – just around the very sharp corner at the top of the climb, and were they ever moving fast.
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As usual I didn’t really know who was passing until I looked at my photos later – turns out that Sagan was in second place at that time, followed shortly by Valverde and Alaphillipe.
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As soon as they’d all passed masses of us rushed into the cafe to watch the final few km on tv – we were very pleased to see Alaphillipe victorious, with Sagan coming fourth.
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As usual folks starting leaving within seconds – we went back to the campervan for a bit, before Colin headed back to the cafe to get some take-out lasagne. No luck – they’d been so busy they were out of food so we had to make do with scrambled eggs and ham.

I could hear some music playing at the other cafe/bar so walked up there to see what was happening – turns out not much. There was a DJ, but the crowd was mostly families with kids, etc. Also he didn’t have a CD player so couldn’t even listen to the Locos CD I’d brought with me – oh well, worldwide stardom will have to wait.

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