Category: Italy

Lake, Castle, Home…Happy Cat!

Feeling a little better we began to slowly make our way again, going a little bit south to Orbetello.

It’s kind of an island, but has three different ‘causeways’ connecting it to the mainland.  We drove to the northeast corner and the small town of Porto Santo Stefano, which seemed to be a fairly prosperous place.

It had a lovely boardwalk and lots of cafes/restaurants, in addition to being both a fishing port and marina – also had some rather nice yachts.

We stayed for one beverage, then as we went to get back in the campervan the local coast guard fellow came up and told me that parking there was not allowed.  I explained that we were leaving right then and he was ok with that – he didn’t know we’d already been there for almost an hour.

We then headed basically east as I wanted to see Lago di Bolsena – it was one of the places I had thought I’d go to at the beginning of my very first bike trip back in 2017, but sadly never made it to.

It was a lovely drive and I was glad to have seen it – we had lunch in the campervan on the shore of the lake.  Colin’s still not feeling 100% so meals are a bit sparse – at least his are.

Overnight camping was not allowed so after lunch we continued north a bit to the town of Torre Alfina.  It has a nice large car-park and a very well-preserved castle from the 1600’s.

We went for a walk and got a gelato cone – a bit sweet for me – then continued on up to the castle.

It seems to be a bit of an ‘artsy’ town as there are wall murals, strange statues and artwork all over.

There was a couple having a photo-shoot at the top of the castle so I had to wait a bit before I could get a shot of the views from where I wanted.

They were pretty nice, especially when I told them I was from Canada, and I took a quick photo or two and then we left.

The drive down to Ostia the next day wasn’t too bad, and we got around Rome without much slowing down.  We parked in the same car-park right across from the Sea that we’d used before – there seem to be quite a few campervans that are permanent residents.

I walked to the nearest pharmacy and got a couple of things for Colin’s cold, although he does seem to be doing better.

Up early the final morning and off to the airport.  No problem at all getting checked in – they didn’t even ask for a covid vaccine certificate or negative test.

Three flights later – and I’m home!  The cat is happy…

Castellina in Chianti, Asciano, Papiano, Grosseto

It poured rain all night long and was still coming down the next morning.  There was a large sportiv on and as we tried to follow two other campervans out we were stopped by a traffic marshall.  After waiting several minutes and no riders appearing we took off the short distance to the upper parking area and dealt with our black water.

Heading along south we were dodging the sportiv riders the whole way until well past Erba.  The racers the day before had such better weather and conditions – I felt a bit sorry for the sportiv riders, but they were a bit of a pain clogging up the road.

We didn’t go all the way to Papiano, but stopped instead at a lovely town in Toscana – Castellina in Chianti.  There was an aire just at the edge of the town centre so we joined several other campervans for the evening.

The next morning as we were finishing our tea a policeman pulled up and started checking all of the campervans.  It turns out that ‘any parking area with blue lines’ means we should be paying to stay.  We hadn’t seen the ticket machine which was way down at one end but the fellow was very nice and waited while Colin went and got a ticket.

We took a walk all along the main street of the town – I can imagine that in the summer it’s a fairly crowded place.  They’ve made an effort to make it attractive and friendly – lots of nice little shops and cafes, with of course, the usual excellent italian coffee.

At one old door there was a basket with some very large rabbits in it, along with a donation box for their care – Colin made a deposit.

We decided to go grocery shopping in the larger nearby town of Poggibonsi, then continue our journey from there.

We got diverted off the route we wanted and ended up having to turn back when we came to a walled entrance to one of the little towns and the gateway was too narrow for us to pass.  Several locals waited patiently while we did a u-turn – luckily there was a nice wide driveway right there so it wasn’t a problem.

We stopped again at Asciano for the night – we’ve now been there several times  as it’s on the Strade Bianche route and we like the area.  The next day was a nice short trip to Papiano to finish cleaning out the house.  The first thing we did was throw a load of laundry in, and as soon as the water was hot enough each had a nice shower.  It’s amazing how good a shower can make you feel when you haven’t had one in so long!

It was really nice to see Antonio and a few of the other locals down at the bar – unfortunately there’s also mr. creepy.  We stopped at the yard with the turtles – the babies are going sleepy for the winter but the fellow showed us one of the big ones that was still about.  One of it’s feet had been injured and it looked like it had lost several toes but otherwise was ok.

We arranged with Antonio to get one of the local guys to help us move all of the stuff from the cellar to the campervan – he’ll come by tomorrow afternoon.

We took the opportunity of being in the area to get haircuts from our favourite hairdresser.  He’s opened his own place in the village of Pila so it was a bit of a drive but we’re both very happy with the results.  Note:  a couple of the photos are from the previous year – they’re not actually still requiring masks in Italy.

We got a couple more loads of laundry done, and the helper arrived with his girlfriend and a small trailer in tow around 5:30.  Two loads later the cellar was fairly empty and the ‘garage’ in the campervan was stuffed full – I’m actually amazed that everything squished in.

We’ve been feeding chairman meow, and he now has a friend as well.  We left some extra food with Rita as she takes care of them in Angelo’s absence – he’s now working in Rome.

The bell in the tower is working again, although it doesn’t seem quite as melodious as it used to be.

Leaving in the morning was again sad, but even if the house does sell we’ll still come back to Papiano now and then to say hi to some of the people – others…not.

We took ‘the scenic route’ to Grosseto on the west coast, passing through some very beautiful countryside along the way and including the towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino.  There are some very nice wines produced in the area, and also lots of olive oil.

Grosseto is on a large plain and it’s a very short drive to the sea – the beaches are lovely and wide and the sand is very fine.  It’s not crowded now but in summer I bet it’s packed.  There are large restaurants all along but most of them seem to be closed already.

Colin and I have both had colds although he’s more affected by his than I am by mine.  It’s very unusual for either of us to be sick so we’re just taking it easy parked in the large parking area.  I’ve been taking the dogs for nice long walks while Colin rests and hopefully feels better soon.

Il Lombardia From Ghisallo – One of my Favourite Races, and Two of my Favourites Retiring

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.

Milano-San Remo – La Primavera…from Poggio!

After a nice shower and a bit of breakfast we continued on south.  Since we weren’t in a rush we took the ‘scenic route’ rather than the peage/motorway.

Part of the drive was quite nice but part was a bit drab – narrow winding valleys and not much greenery on the trees yet.  Also the gravel works on the river weren’t that attractive.

Making it to Imperia right at noon we took the coast road west along the Sea until turning off to go up to Poggio.

The car park at the top was pretty full but we managed to find the perfect spot – right near the fence and overlooking the Sea.

It was very windy so we didn’t spend much time outside, although I did take Mo for a short walk after lunch.  We also went to the cafe/bar a little later for a quick drink.

The bar is right at the corner where the riders will come from the crest of the climb, make a sharp left and start the descent to San Remo – we’ve watched the race from near that spot twice now, staying in the same car park overlooking it.

Race day was overcast but somewhat less windy.  There are only a few other campervans in the car park with us but it’s almost full – most of the cars were there yesterday so we assume the owners must live nearby and just leave their cars all the time.

Going early to the cafe we had a nice cappuccino, then a stroll through the town.

A couple of hours later another cappuccino, this time followed by a walk across the road to the wine store – the one with the taps coming out of the walls.  I opted for a ‘bag-in-box’ red that the lady said was dry and a bit rich but very good.

Partway through the morning many of the barriers were already up and the officious fellow with the whistle was already directing people here, there and everywhere.  Many amateur riders have been coming up, and there are definitely more folks around than the last time we were here – the 2020 race that was delayed to August because of the covid.

Since crowds were gathering we walked down to stake our spots fairly early, knowing we’d have an hour and a half or more wait.  I stopped at the very same spot as I did in 2020, and Colin continued down just past the next corner.

I saw a Bianchi bike above me and wondered if it belonged to a former Jumbo team rider as it had Jumbo Visma on the cross-bar.

I made friends with both the ‘official’ guy and the policeman that was nearest me.  Lots of folks were still coming up from places below and they eventually tied a rope across the opening I was sitting at.

The policeman made sure no one got in front of me, and ended up standing just down from my right shoulder.

I kept asking the official guy how long until the racers arrived and he gave me updates – they were way ahead of schedule because of a fierce tailwind.

The first rider passed at 4:37, followed closely by Pogacar, van der Poel, van Aert and Mohoric, with the peloton right behind.

Because it’s a sharp corner the riders lean into it and swing very wide to my side of the road.

By the time the last racer passed about 20 minutes later the race was long over in San Remo.  It was a sprint to the finish with Matej Mohoric coming out on top.

We tried to get into the bar to see any replays but it was so packed we didn’t bother until later when we were almost the only ones there enjoying a refreshing beverage.

Milano-Torino from San Martino Canavese

We placed our chairs at the side of the road just across from a campervan with a couple of very annoying barking dogs – ok it was ours.  The race approached at the early end of the predicted time.

As the official vehicles and motos just in front of the riders rounded the curve below us I saw a black car in one of the driveways start to move forward.  The fucking idiot partially entered the road and the nearest official car had to swerve to avoid broadsiding him, meaning that the moto nearest to that car had to swerve also.  If not for the excellent handling skills of the moto driver I would have been flattened by a skidding motorcycle.

I just sat there screaming obsenities as the first racers passed, having seen what had happened right in front of them, with the front end of the black car on the road.  There was a breakaway of three, followed in about two minutes by the whole peloton.

The driver of the black car that almost caused carnage stood beside his vehicle looking totally bewildered, having finally backed up into his driveway a bit out of the way because of all the oncoming traffic.

How can you possibly not be aware that a World Tour Race is coming through your town?  The oldest Classic there is – 103 years now!  There are signs everywhere about no parking and pink arrows and everything – how can you be that dumb?  In addition to being furious I was also extremely relieved that I hadn’t been crushed by a moto – what an asshole.

Shortly after the race had passed an ambulance roared by with lights flashing and siren on – a rider must have crashed on the downhill not long after going by us.  We hope he’s ok. 

We watched the end of the race on Colin’s phone – Cavendish won!  The first Brit ever in 103 editions – good for him!

We stayed at the roadside spot for awhile, moving later back to the place we’d spent the previous night (across from the cemetery).  I read in bed until I finished the book I was reading about the Roman legions and had another very early night, with Mo tucked in beside me.

It rained lightly much of the night and we got up to a grey day.   With a relatively short drive back to the fruit farm near Cavour we weren’t in any hurry, stopping in Pinerolo at a campervan dump and to restock with more water.

Settling in at Cascina Mombello I made a nice and tender beef stew for dinner.  As usual momma Maya, little Spreet and the big lab welcomed us.

From Papiano to San Martino Canavese – via Cavour

The next day was a day of rest, laundry and watching the final day of Tirreno-Adriatic as well as Paris-Nice on tv.  Winners of each were as expected – the two Slovenians, Pogacar and Roglic.

Pogacar won TA in rather convincing fashion, but Roglic needed a good effort from Van Aert to rein in one of the Yatesies on the final climb of PN.

Packing up again on Monday morning didn’t take long as we hadn’t completely emptied the campervan the other night.  Saying goodbye to Papiano once again we left under beautiful sunshine and a clear blue sky.

Without being in any super-great hurry we ended up continuing on all the way to Cavour.  As we got further and further north the sunshine disappeared behind the clouds and the rain started, but we made it to the fruit farm ok.

As usual the dogs were in the courtyard to great us – mama Maya and her little one Spreet (he’s at least five now but still smaller than his mama, and she’s tiny) as well as the young lab that they got a few years ago when the old lab died.

It rained most of the night but by the time we got up it had stopped.  After a nice shower and some breakfast we saw the older fellow (father, we think) approaching.  His english is much worse than my Italian, and I managed to convey that we were just finishing eating, then would get some water and be ready to leave in about an hour.  That seemed ok as he said he’d be in the courtyard and we could find him when ready so he could open the gates for us.

The farm must be doing ok as there’s a shiny new tractor in one of the outbuildings.  In addition to producing the fruit they also make it into jams, etc, have occasional lunches and dinners, and sometimes run a pre-school.  Accepting campers isn’t a huge part of their business, but we’ve enjoyed staying there several times now.

The first time for me was five years ago when I spent six or seven days there upon my return from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Colin came and picked me up and we went to Mt. Ventoux for the dedication of the Tom Simpson memorial.  Colin had know Tommy years ago in his riding days so it was quite special.

The drive to our next destination didn’t take too long as it’s only a bit north of Torino.  Very shortly after leaving the motorway we saw a pink arrow and it was easy going following the route from there to the small town of San Martino Canavese that we’d chosen to watch the race from the next afternoon.

We had a nice chicken and rice lunch and spent the rest of the day reading.  Relocating just a bit for the night we found a large flat area across from the cemetery – far enough off the main road that the traffic noise was much less.

I took a walk around the cemetery the next morning, and was just pondering the fact that many of the folks residing there had lived to nice old ages…

…other than the ones named at the two war memorials…

…when I saw a teddy-bear.  The baby only lived a couple of months, and the plaque was very touching, being from ‘Mamma and Papa’.

The Alps loom in the distance, still of course, covered in snow.

Mid-morning we went for a walk through the town looking for a cafe – there’s another war memorial next to the steps going up.

We didn’t find a cafe, but did come across barking dogs behind every second fence.

Having some time before the race arrives we took a short drive to the next decent sized town on the route, managing this time to find a nice cafe that served delicious Segafredo coffee – totally worth the search.

Back at San Martino we parked in an area right on the race route, and settled in to wait.  A police car pulled up to warn us that the road was going to be closed soon but we assured him it was ok – that’s what we’re parked here for.

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 6 – Carpegna

Having driven so far the previous evening it was less than an hour to where we wanted to watch stage 6 from.  We passed very close by to San Marino – we could see the city itself perched on it’s hillside just to the north.  Going in error to the centre of the town of Carpegna we were very nicely asked to turn around by a local cop.

Eventually on the race route we only got to the base of the real climb where we were stopped by a barrier – they’re not letting any vehicles up the best part!  There were several campervans already parked on the wide verge but it felt a bit soft to us so we followed the other small road down a short distance – driving over a large patch of solid ice on the way – it’s still very cold up here.

We parked on the side of the road behind three other campervans and had another cup of tea.  I took a couple of short walks – it’s another very beautiful area.  At the foot of the steep part of the climb are several homages to Marco Pantani – he didn’t grow up in Carpegna, but he trained on the climb many times.

A farmer across the road has put up a ‘parking’ sign and over the next few hours his field became packed – at least sixty or more vehicles so I hope he has a good day.

We watched as hundreds of people trecked up the road towards the top – seeing so many fans making the effort was great.  Around 2:45 we grabbed our lawn chairs and cameras and made our own trek, although not to the top.  We stopped just after the barrier as it’s the first of 22 hairpins and the riders should slow at least a bit as they go by.

A breakaway of five, including Alaphilippe arrived at 3:17…

…and the peloton arrived just a minute later with Pogacar in blue right near the front.

The sprinters arrived in a large bunch only eight minutes later, then I decided to cross the road to shoot the second time around.

A half hour after the first arrival they made their second pass – this time a slightly larger breakaway, including, of course, Pogacar.

It took over twenty minutes for the last rider to pass us, and one of them dropped his chain rounding the corner – he was not happy!  Luckily he managed to get it back on, and with a push from a spectator got back going up the hill.

I must say a word about some of the ‘fans’ – I find many of them very disrespectful.  The riders are on the last few miles of a very long race, and the hundreds of spectators that had taken the time and energy to walk to the top of the climb were coming down in droves as the later riders were still coming up.

At one point the people walking down were taking up the entire road as riders were trying to dodge between them.  I shouted and swore a couple of times at the f’ing idiots, especially when they walked right in front of me when I was trying to get a shot.  I’ve now been to dozens and dozens of races, and can hardly remember a time when I haven’t stayed where I was and clapped and cheered until the very last rider had passed – just wish more people showed more respect.

Back at the campervan we had a little surprise, and I couldn’t stop laughing.  Henry had managed to drag the garbage bag out of it’s door-side container and had strewn the contents all over the floor – he’d chewed the crap out of the lid and yanked it off, then grabbed the bag and pulled until it came up and out.  And we had no doubt it was Henry and not Mo that did it, although she may have egged him on from her perch on the bench.

We made the drive back to Papiano in time to shower and head down to the bar where Antonio was having another festa.  John and Janet were just about to leave but we did have a quick chat.  Then we went inside for one drink while talking with Afka and Janpietro before getting our pork-in-a-bun to take home.

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 5 – Monte Urano

Having spent another quiet night in the church parking area we left early in the morning to find a spot to watch stage 5 from.  It wasn’t too far – just back to the coastal peage and north a bit then west near Fermo.

Along the way we stopped at an Autogrill where they had full campervan facilities such as water, etc. which was very convenient.  Also nice clean washrooms and, of course, delicious cappuccino.

We chose our spot in a nice wide flat area at the edge of Monte Urano just near the top of one of the three climbs of the day.  There was a great view of a nearby town on the top of the next hill.

The farmer whose garage we’re in front of had to move his tractor, but was ok with us being there – he maneuvered past us with no problem.  After a nice lunch of spaghetti in cream sauce with salmon we waited a few hours for the race.

A truck pulled up at one point and erected small banners – we’re at the ‘500 meters to go’ to the top of the climb mark.  One other campervan joined us and wanted us to move a bit so they could pull in but we didn’t want to block the farmer’s access to his own garage.  No problem, though, as they just backed in behind us and were happy enough.

I lay down for a half hour rest and when I got up we had many new neighbours.  In addition to the other campervan there were now dozens of cars, including several team cars with folks preparing bidons, etc. for their riders.

At the house across the road from us was a lab that seemed quite excited by all of the extra people – he barked from time to time but not in an aggressive way – more like he wished someone would come over and pat him on the head.

Just ahead of the predicted schedule a breakaway of 12 or so riders arrived at 3:44, with the peloton in one large bunch 3 or 4 minutes back.

Even though we’re on a climb they passed at a very high speed and were gone in no time.

Because we hadn’t put the flags up we were able to leave almost as soon as the race had passed.  Heading again for the coast peage we drove north for a couple of hours, then west almost to San Marino.  We stopped before dark and pulled into a large parking area at the edge of a town along the road – not sure exactly which town but we’d made good progress towards our chosen area for stage 6.

Tirreno Adriatico stage 4 – Camera

Another chilly night, and having to ration water.  We spent a very frustrating few hours trying to find the nearest campervan dump and went up and down and around and around following signs – no dump, although we did see a bit of the local sites.

We finally got help from a couple of folks at an aire – an aire (or Sosta as they call them here) without water or dump facilities.  I think the couple work for the municipal recycling company, and they looked up on their phone and gave very clear directions on how to find the nearest place.

Finally we were able to empty water (etc. !) and take on water.  We then headed to a campervan place not far from Pisa to have the heating checked out so we don’t keep losing water at night.  The fellow said he’d be out in five minutes to have a look, but as soon as we returned to the campervan and did a final check the heating worked!  We did wait about fifteen minutes for the guy to come have a look over, but when he didn’t appear we left, and relocated a bit down the road to have lunch.

Refreshed, and with a bit of a drive ahead we were on our way again – southeast towards the Adriatic coast, going right past Perugia – so close to home, but we kept going on our way.

With night closing in we stopped at the town of Caldarola, in a very nice parking area just off the motorway.  It was nice and quiet and once again (becoming a habit!) had another early night.  I did read for a bit – Julia Child’s book ‘My Life in France’ – my sister gave it to me a few months ago and I’m really enjoying it.  And having the heat working meant no more freezing in the morning, or losing the water, and also – I get to do dishes with hot water – what a treat!

Another early start and we were on our way via the motorway/peage south towards the small town of Bellante, near Teramo.  After doing a loop of the next day’s race route we settled on a churchyard near the outskirts of the even smaller town of Camera.

It’s a quite beautiful area with small villages on every hillside, and overlooked by large mountains topped with snow.

We had a lovely roast chicken for lunch, with plenty left over for a cold meal as well as soup, which is after all, the best part of roasting a chicken.

A short walk down a nearby lane introduced us to many of the local dogs, and a couple of cats.

Also on the next hill a local flock of sheep…or should it be a flock of local sheep?

The morning of stage 4 was again beautiful and sunny, although the breeze was a bit chilly.

The race passed our spot twice, and in the first pass there was one leader, followed within a minute by a small chase group, then another small group containing Evenepoel, Pogacar and Ganna just behind.

The sprinters, including Cavendish, were another five minutes back.

Right on the predicted time schedule the race reappeared 29 minutes later, still with the lone breakaway rider but with the peloton back together and within sight of him.

We read later that Pogacar had won again, and in very convincing fashion too.

Lido de Camaiore for Tirreno-Adriatico ITT

Leaving the aire before 8:00 we headed north towards Lido de Camaiore, stopping along the way for a fabulous cappuccino at a highway rest stop.

We got to Camaiore in good time and drove along the Lido, passing several of the team buses in the best parking areas.

Most of the parking areas were taped off for the teams and other race officials but we came to a perfect place near the Hotel Joseph.

There were some other campervans there already so we figured it was a good place to stop.

After a bite to eat we went for a walk back towards the start of tomorrow’s ITT – it was a bit of a ways and there were no cafes open or anything.  We did enjoy the excercise and fresh air, however.

There are several teams staying at the Hotel Joseph, and the mechanics, etc. are all in process of washing the time trial bikes and everything.

There are all sorts of sculptures and art pieces along the Lido – some of them are quite nice and some of them a bit puzzling.

Also, because we’re so close to Carrara there’s lots of marble – some of the sidewalks are actually made of it!

After a very early night and a good quiet sleep we were up early again.  Wanting a cappuccino we walked north this time along the Lido, eventually asking a policeman where a cafe might be found.  

Following his directions we shortly were seated outside a very nice, and increasingly busy cafe at one end of a large plaza.

Across from the plaza were more sculptures, and a lovely long pier that was very well made with stainless steel handrails – quite impressive.

There was a fellow playing the harp partway down – I think I even recognized the song he was playing which was something Italian and classical that I don’t know the name of.  

The beach here looks excellent – very wide and flat with fine white sand.

For a few hours in the late morning most of the riders were doing re-con of the course, then the police motos and photo motos took their turns.

The first racer left around 2:00 – it’s a straight north ride for almost 7 km, then a hairpin turn and back south to the finish, so each rider passes us twice, once in each direction.  I got the Cav…

…a heli – what??  They’re alway sneaking into my shots…

…someone coming from the beach who didn’t care at all about the race…

…Alaphilippe…

As some of the riders finished they slowly rode back to their hotels – sometimes on the race road and sometime on the sidewalk.  At one point I looked up and coming towards me was Richie Porte!  I waved and smiled (not having time to take a photo) and he smiled back and said ‘Hi’! – almost the highlight of my day.  I also got Ganna…

…Evenepoel…

…and Pogacar…

A very fine day of race watching, followed by another very early night.