Got 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just below the cafe there’s a scallop-shell marking for the Camino di Santiago – boy old saint James sure got around!
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.
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.
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.
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.