Gaetano Roggia – Vero Italiano: “Everytime, I make my coffee with my Bialetti. I take it everywhere with me, wherever I travel. Io ricordo, one time, I was in… Hmm – maybe Munich, somewhere like this – and I unpacked my Bialetti for my morning espressi only to find there was nowhere to make my coffee! Mamma Mia – disastro! So, I look around, there is only one electrical appliance in the whole place: An iron. Bravo! I am saved! I heat it, the iron, up to full heat, turn it upside down, place on it the Bialetti – Allora! Coffee!”
The Sicily bound ships have sailed off into the night. Il Grande Giro blew in and out of Sardegna with some, in many ways, benign yet somehow highly eventful racing to usher in the three-week 2017 opera d’ciclismo.
Dennis Triepels has been lurking in the paddocks and the piazzi to bring us a few shots of the bike sprezz and festivities of this Sardinian Sojourn
Tappa 1 had it’s bag snatched in the final 3km by new Googlesearch sensation of the press-room, Lukas Pöstlberger. The accidental attack left many confused and bemused, not least Pösti himself, but was heralded as the ‘greatest start to a Giro, ever!’ here in casa Ciclissimo! – that’s what happens when you live in a 50% Österreicher household…
I was hoping for a bit of a knife-fight straight from the gun through the mountainous island terrain on the seconda tappa but it turned out to be a veritable slow burner in terms of both narrative and velocity. Not that the next time I manage to finish a ride with a 34kph or whatever it was average I’ll shut-up about how full-gas it all was for hours, of course.
Stage Highlight: Team Dimension Data’s Daniel Teklehaimanot taking the Maglia Azzura. We like that – Forza Lucca Boys!
The howling gale of tappa tre had the white horses charging across the mediterranean sea and crashing over the peloton in waves of echelons right on cue as the race hit the coast in the final 10km. The Quick Step Floors masterclass on wringing a race dry by putting it in the gutter was inevitable and a joy to watch; if you don’t love it when the ‘nailed-on sprint stage’ script gets chucked in the shredder you have no soul.
Stage Highlight: Nathan Haas playing the only hand he had in the final couple hundred metres in the face of Gaviria and Nizzolo after being one of the very few to gate-crash the Quick Step Floors thumb-screws party. Nathan Haas is going to land a big one very soon…
You can set your watch by Dennis Triepels, roving lensman and friend of Ciclissimo!, as he heads out each year to enjoy the Grande Partenza of the Giro D’Italia – which is a good job as the race has somewhat snook up on me this year; it feels like only yesterday we were schlepping our way from Milano to San Remo!
This year the Giro spends most of its first week bobbing about on the Mediterranean with the opening three days on the island of Sardegna, the second of which puts me excitedly in mind of that superb, combative, ‘mini-mountain’ second Corsican stage of the 2013 TdF, before heading south to Sicily. It is here that the race will be hit between its eyes with the first full-on mountain top finish of 2017’s edition on the rumbling slopes of Mt Etna…
Dennis has shrugged off his socks & scarf of native Holland in favour of loosely buttoned linen & pastel, suede loafers, grabbed the tiller of the Ciclissimo! 30m luxury yacht and a Cinzano and set sail for Sardegna’s northwestern port of Alghero to capture the unique sights and sounds of the greatest stage race on earth on its opening weekend.
All pics courtesy of Dennis Triepels – Grazie!
I sat down with Metaltek-Kuota’s Dan Fleeman on the eve of the 2017 edition of the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic. The late afternoon spring sunshine, streaming through the wooden blinds, created pleasingly bold contrasts of shadow and light across the rustic charm of the bar at team hotel, the Whipper In, in bustling, little Oakham. Dan is a man very comfortable in his own skin and exudes that easy fluidity of movement of the well-trained. The next day he went and won the thing – never again will I pass up the chance of placing a fiver on a rider who has just told me he’s worth having a flutter on! We spoke about a career and characters that have spanned the four corners of the globe and all levels of racing – y’know, the usual stuff: prize money collected at machine-gun point and fifth-floor window escape plots to avoid getting stiffed for CHF45,000 hospital bills…
Click here to read the full, entertaining interview over at the Always Riding site
“…there are two guys standing guard on the door with machine guns. You then have to walk up to this table were a panel of the organisers are sat and you tell them what you believe you are owed. So, Dan tells them: Fifty two thousand and something or other dollars. The head guy just nods “OK!” and reaches into a bag and pulls out the cash and just hands it to him! I said you should have added on another couple of grand but he was under the impression if you lied they’d have shot you!” – on collecting race winnings at the Tour of Quinghai Lake
“Just being calm. All those years we’ve just spoken about, 2007, 2008, 2009, it was all just a bit of a blur and I didn’t really take anything in – I was manic. But someone like Roger Hammond- always laid back; never stressed. Carlos Sastre – never stressed – Ever. That’s the way to be…” – on his number one piece of advice, gleaned from years of racing, to young riders
Photo credits: AP Sports Photo and Andrew Greenstreet Photography