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.

TA Stage 5 – Climb to Sassotetto

After a nice sleep-in we arose after 7:00 – the doggies usually stir well before that so it was nice to get a little more shut-eye.

When I took Mo for her morning walk I was amazed at the lovely golden tones in the light – just a beautiful area, and so peaceful.

We followed the route for about 50 km before turning onto a faster road to the town of Sarnano where we stopped for a delicious cappuccino.

I took a short walk around while Colin finished his coffee – it seems like a lovely place, although as so many towns in the area had been heavily damaged by the quake in 2016.

It’s a town that caters to many things – hiking, biking, skiing and also has thermal baths.

Continuing on our way out of the town, the last 13 km of the day’s stage is all uphill to the finish at Sassotetto – not an easy climb.

We drove all the way to the top, then backtracked a few km to a nice pullout where we stopped, only to find that the satellite dish wasn’t working – oh well.  As I was cooking our lunch of pork sausages and mashed potatoes a car pulled up and the fellows started talking to Colin.  He called me out to interpret and I realized that it was two of the men we’d met at Strade Bianche!  We got to meet their wives and then they were on their way further up towards the summit to watch the race from.

As usual the arrival of the first racer was immediately preceeded by no less than seven motos and two official cars – and the sole rider was Simon Yates.

Michael Woods was about a minute behind, and ended up losing the overall lead, but still placed well at the end.

We ended up with another five bidons at the end of the day, and we even traded a Trek one (we had another) for an Ineos Grenadiers that another fan had gotten.

Trek was what he’d really wanted because Italian hero Nibali rides for them now, so we happily traded, even tho Ineos is our least favourite team.  Their bidons are quite spiffy looking, however, so we’re not disappointed.

Many of the racers zipped back down the mountain on their bikes, even tho we’d seen all of the team buses go up the hill hours earlier.  The sprinters and stragglers were still coming up for almost half an hour, so the down-coming rides had to take care as they were descending extremely fast.

After bringing down the flags we headed down the hill and north to the motorway that took us east to the Adriatic, where we continued north just past Ancona.  Our stop for the night was a large church parking lot in the town of Ostra, which is very near the next day’s route.

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.