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Bye Bye Papiano (sob!) – on to the Giro

The morning of my last day in Papiano was beautiful with a lovely sunrise.  Chairman Meow came to say goodbye – well, he came for food and a pat on the head…ok really he just came for food but I managed to pat him on the head without getting bitten or slashed.

I took a few final photos of the terrace and the view, and we were on our way around 11:30.  

As we passed the bar we waved again to Antonio – we’d said our goodbyes the previous afternoon.

We headed south to Terni, then southeast, passing many sections of roadworks.  It slowed the journey down some but lord knows most of the roads need it.

We stopped just short of our destination, right below the town of Rivisondoli. 

It was a lovely evening although it’s starting to get chilly as soon as the sun goes down.

The next morning was another beautiful one – we took the dogs for a nice walk along a paved path right next to the camper park, then I checked out some sculptures in a nearby park.

They’re made of metal and seem to be used for lighting fires in.  We figure there must be some kind if festival, maybe in the winter – this area a big for skiing, etc.

We continued on past the town of Roccaraso and followed the road to the top that will be the finale of stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia.  We’ve been watching the race every day on tv and this one stage will be the only one we’ll be able to get to in person this year.

The 7 km climb to the top isn’t that steep but it will be right at the end of a long hard day for the riders.

There’s no parking allowed at the very top, but lots of wide areas a km or two down.  Several campervans were already there but there was lots of space so we did get an excellent spot.

We put up the flags and had a quiet afternoon.  The folks that pulled in next to us came over with a cup of espresso for each of us – very sweet but packing quite a caffeine jolt.

Borgo Tossignano, Women’s ITT

After breakfast we walked to the nearest cafe and had a cappuccino, then took a long walk around the town.

It’s a lovely place right on the Santerno river and has very distinctive geography – the area used to be a provider of gypsum.

As we were walking on a path next to the river a lady on a bike stopped and chatted with us for a bit – she was very friendly and told us about her dog – a staffie named Cesare that she said was very gentle and friendly.

Just a short while later we passed her house and sure enough Cesare ran up to his gate – no barking or fuss, just looked like he wanted a pat on the head or something.

Back at the campervan we put the flags up and waited for the first racer – today was the women’s individual time trial.

Last year’s winner – Chloe Dygert from the US – was setting a blistering pace when not far from the finish she braked on a corner and went into/over the barrier.  She was taken to hospital in Imola for surgery for a bad laceration on her leg, and a dutch rider – Anna van der Breggen – won the day.

Good news is that the American should be ok, and hopefully will recover and be back to form and racing again next year.

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 4 – near Castelluccio

Up nice and early we headed for Castelluccio to find a spot to watch the next stage from.  The drive was thru very beautiful countryside and we even saw the trees that form the map of Italy on the hillside.

On the flat plain there were folks parked that were landing after para-gliding.  There weren’t any planes taking them up that we could see, so we assume they take off from one on the nearby mountains and catch the updrafts.

We were parked in a fairly large flat area and several team cars joined us to hand out bidons.

Michael Woods, wearing the overall leader’s blue jersey and his team’s distinctive pink helmut was safely near the front of the peloton, along with Nibali.

Since it was a large area near the end of a climb many riders were ditching their bidons – I ended up with my largest haul yet – nine!  I actually don’t know what I’m going to do with them all, but I really enjoy collecting them.

After the race had passed we backtracked to the town of Visso where we turned north and picked up the route for the next day’s stage.  Visso is one of many towns and villages in the area that were severely damaged in the earthquake of 2016.

We followed the route markers until a bit past the town of Tolentino where we pulled into a nice little flat space on the side of the quiet road – good place to spend the night.