Category: Landscapes/scenery

World Championships – Men’s ITT

The morning of the men’s ITT was quite blustery but at least the thunder, lightning and rain we experienced during the night had passed.

As we were having our morning cappuccino in the cafe I said ‘I just felt a raindrop’ but there were absolutely no clouds anywhere near us.  It was a very misty kind of rain, and the waitress came out and cranked up all of the large umbrellas – it was very strange, and must have been due to the sometimes fierce wind.

We returned to the campervan and decided to go just out of the town to a roadside spot we’d seen the night we arrived.  We said goodbye to our Belgian neighbours and relocated a couple of km north.

The weather conditions changed every fifteen minutes, blue skies one moment, threatening rain the next.

It never did actually rain, although the wind was pretty constant.

I got decent photos of Brit rider Geraint Thomas…

…Belgian Wout Van Aert…

…Dutch Tom Dumoulin (winner of the ITT in 2017)…

…as well as defending champion for the last two years Aussie Rohan Dennis.

Dennis was unable to repeat again as Italian Filippo Ganna came thru the fastest to the delight of the local fans.

We took down the flags – one of the poles had partially collapsed in the wind – and drove east a bit to pick up the route for the next two days’ road races.  We thought we’d found an ideal spot at the top of one of the two climbs, although it was extremely windy.

We’d just had a lovely dinner and I was finishing the dishes when there was a knock on the window – we were being told to move as we were in a restricted area.  The fellow was nice enough but we had no choice.

We drove a bit further and stopped at a fairly large pullout – there were already a few campervans there, as well as some police having a somewhat heated conversation with a german lady.  We wanted to know what they were discussing when a car pulled up and the man inside told us he had a place we could park.

We turned around and followed him but he turned off the race route and was leading us too far.  We thanked him for the offer and returned back past the other campervans to another likely looking spot that had one campervan well off the road, a Volvo near the road, and a couple of policemen.

We pulled in and asked if we could park there – they said they didn’t know whose land it was but as long as we were at least four meters from the road they wouldn’t make us leave.  The place is on a very fast part of the course – downhill from the summit of the second climb and just past a tricky s-curve so they’re concerned about crashes and don’t want any vehicles too close to the road.

Long Rides, and To The World’s

The last 10 days were spent in Papiano – enjoying cappuccinos at the bar, and going for nice long bike rides.

I have a couple of favourite places that I go to and am averaging almost 40 km per ride now.

I love the small shrines that are all over the place, as well as the war memorials that every town and village have.

There was another Saturday night dinner at the bar, complete with live music and dancing – a fun evening with good food and good conversation.

We left for Imola on a Wednesday morning – the world championships were moved there from Switzerland because of covid, so lucky for us we got to go.  There will only be four days of racing instead of the usual eight or nine, but it’s better than nothing.

We chose the town of Borgo Tossignano as our base for the first two days – its about the midway point for both the women’s and the men’s individual time trials.  We found a nice paved parking area right on the route, within walking distance of cafes, etc. so it was perfect.

Only one other campervan was there when we arrived – a nice couple from Belgium who, like most Belgians, spoke very good english.

TA Stage 7 – near Recanati, Bailing on the ITT

Yet another beautiful morning for the second last stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.  We re-confirmed that the race will pass our spot three times before the finish in Loreto.

This stage is called the ‘Muri’ because of the many small but brutal climbs.  We’re between Loreto and Recanati just near the top of one of the climbs.

There’s a cemetery just below us and Mo and I walked down to look around – it wasn’t exactly what I expected.  

There was part of one wall that had the usual small internments with plaques with flowers, etc, but the majority of the place was large individual ‘houses’, some of which were quite ornate and beautiful.

I got my bidon collection together and I’m not missing too many – maybe I’ll complete it today or tomorrow.

At one point in the morning, before we’d opened all the shades, Colin noticed someone outside about to put a piece of paper on our windshield.  I opened the side door to investigate – it was a policewoman who was going to leave a notice that we were going to get ‘locked in’ around noon when the road would be closed.  I assured her we wouldn’t be moving as we took photos of the race and she thought that was great.

For the first pass of the riders I went a bit down from where we were parked in the churchyard – I could see a ways down the road as they came up the hill.

Froome and Nibali were both near the front of the peloton.

For the second pass I stayed closer to where we were parked – I could see Loreto in the distance where they will finish the stage.

After the breakaway had passed all of the team cars pulled to the right-hand side of the road – the peloton was within two minutes of the break so the cars all got the order to pull over and get out of the way.

Yates was once again staying safe near the front of the peloton.

On the final pass a young Bora rider was alone in front, followed by several others including Mathieu van der Poel. 

At the end of the day Van der Poel won the stage, and Yates held on to the overall lead.  Our Belgian friends with the large motorhome had been in the churchyard parking area with us and came to say goodbye – they’re leaving right away to drive up to France and catch part of the Tour.

They gave us two gifts – a small box of Belgian chocolates, and maybe even better, a card with their home address, etc on it.  They live near Zwalm, which was our ‘base’ last year for all of the Spring Classics – nice to have some fellow fans to get together with!

We stayed another night in the church parking area, then headed south to San Benedetto del Tronto for the final stage – the individual time trial. 

We abandoned our plan once we arrived in the city – even more streets than usual were already closed and we realized we wouldn’t be able to take the dogs.  It was starting to get pretty hot and we felt we couldn’t leave them alone in the campervan for hours and hours.  After driving fruitlessly around the narrow, very busy streets I suggested zipping home to watch the stage on tv – this was a good decision.

It was only a few hours before we were in the comfort of the house with the air-con on cheering as Yates managed to hold onto the overall lead – even Geraint Thomas couldn’t pick up enough time to beat him.  

Another great Tirreno-Adriatico – getting to see seven out of the eight stages was pretty satisfying.  Next – on to the World’s in Imola!

TA Stage 6 – near Sappanico

We had a nice quiet night – the bells on the church didn’t ring once, let alone all night long.

We went into Senigallia for groceries then followed the day’s route along the seashore – they go up and down several times but we decided to go back inland a bit to one of the small climbs that they only do once.

We meandered a bit on and off the route, and finally chose a spot just outside Sappanico, which was good as they were already closing the roads.  After a quick bite to eat we picked our spots, and didn’t have to wait too long.

Yates was staying safely near the front in his overall leader’s blue jersey.

After the race passed we headed to a town we’d been at last year, although the route is different – as is the churchyard we stopped at.

Mo and I took a nice walk – the church is on a hill and there are some great views of the wide valley below and the towns on every hill.