The drive south was uneventful, using the lesser road rather than the paege. We arrived at the Poggio on Thursday and got a good spot in the far corner of the parking area at the top.
The house right below now has a Ukrainian flag painted on it’s roof.
Friday was very quiet for us – late start, cappuccinos at the cafe, then lunch at one of the bars. I ordered the ‘wild boar hamburger’, expecting, as the name said, a burger. But no – it was a meat patty with nothing else. Very tasty, but not, in my mind, a burger.
There was a local club of older riders that stopped for coffee – they kindly posed for a photo…
Race day was sunny but very windy. We had another cappuccino at the bar, and made a reservation for lunch later – they were already setting up extra tables and had at least three times the staff on.
This time we both ordered the lasagna, although they were mostly pushing out pizzas. I couldn’t believe how busy it was – must be their busiest day of the year.
We knew we had time but left the bar early so as not to have to rush. Leaving Henry in the campervan we walked down to stake out our spots – really wished that I’d worn my warmer winter coat rather than the lighter black jacket. The wind was fierce – I also wished I had my wool hat and gloves!
In any case the race arrived in due course – a fellow near me had it on his phone and we were well warned when the riders were near as the crowd went wild! Actually it was one of the best crowds I can remember – very boisterous and all happy. There was one table of ladies – with a bottle of wine – overlooking the road and every time the overly officious fellow on the road below blew his whistle at someone they called him out – it was hilarious.
To great cheers the first one over the top and around the corner was Van der Poel…
…followed seconds later by Pogacar, Ganna and Van Aert…
A few minutes later, while still watching the rest of the race go by, I heard the crowd inside the bar screaming and cheering as they watched the end on tv.
When we got back to the campervan we watched the last 15 km on GCN and were both very pleased to see that Van der Poel had such a convincing win – the most dominating performance in many years.
I did see myself on tv – a black blob on the very right of the screen just at the turn after the top of the Poggio.