The next morning we had a nice chat with the Belgians before they re-located. I saw that they’d moved to a flat area just below the museum and church – there’s a fairly steep bluff and you look right down on it from above. Their new bus is too large to go right in but there was just enough space for them along the side near the entrance.
We thought it looked perfect so drove on down – the gate barrier blocked the way, but right then a motorcyclist arrived and the arm raised so we carried on in. After parking I took Mo for a little walk and the Belgians told me they got permission from the folks at the museum to park where they did and maybe I should check with them too. I walked up and was told that we had to leave for the day but if we came back before they closed at 5:30 we could spend the next two nights there – awesome!
We had a lovely cappuccino at the cafe next to the museum, then spent much of the day a bit south at the town of Canzo.
Back at the museum just before closing they gave me a key-fob for the gate and as soon as we were in I hiked up to return it to them – it was their last one so we couldn’t keep it. They didn’t want to see any passports, nor did they want any money – perfect spot and free to boot!
Race day morning was beautiful – clear sunny sky but not too hot. We had another delicious cappuccino then walked around the town a bit.
Slowly but surely fans were arriving, and I even saw some folks having their wedding photos taken amidst all of the cycling fans on the bluff above us.
We met and had a chat with a couple of Americans who had rented bikes in Bellagio and weren’t aware that there was a big race happening – we encouraged them to stay and watch it rather than continue on their ride.
Mo and I took a walk down to find ‘Dutch corner’ but didn’t make it past ‘Pantani corner’.
The folks there insisted that I have some wine – did I say no? – as well as a delicious beef rib and some lovely cheese. Mo got a rib bone and I almost lost a finger trying to get it away from her when we had to leave.
We made it back in plenty of time, and saw that the Americans had taken our advice and settled in to watch the race not far up from us.
One of the Israel Premier Tech support cars had pulled in and I had a little talk with the soigneur – it’s very sad that the team is likely going to be relegated at the end of the year but he said they’ll keep on racing. Michael Woods is in the race so of course I hope to see him. The soigneur promised me a bidon if he has any left after the racers are past.
I’m not usually a huge fan of kids, but I do like to see them get so excited at races like this – these two especially were so cute:
The race arrived led by Team UAE and last year’s winner Tadej Pogacar, in front of a group that included Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard, as well as Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverdere – both of whom are retiring and that makes me very sad.
After the race passed I was fortunate a couple of times – the Israel Premier Tech guy remembered me and gave me a bidon, and I also scored one from Quickstep as our Belgian friends are associated with them.
As the crowd dispersed in the usual lightening-quick fashion we returned to the campervan to watch the end of the race on GCN – Pogacar won again in a sprint with one other rider. An excellent final race of the season for us.