Photo Gallery: Race No.5 and the last before the big one: Il Lombardia, the ‘Race of the Falling Leaves’ the last big race of the season. Heather’s day at the Gran Piemonte was the usual mixture of rider stalking, photographer scuffles and some great shots. Another day on the northern Italian roads for Heather.
Diego Rosa at the sign-on – almost free
Nans Peters at the start, do you think he intended to be on the podium?
Fifth race of the week, Il Gran Piemonte – Aglie to Santuario di Oropa. I was late starting out this morning, but it was the closest to my digs so far. I headed over to Aglie (still don’t know how to say it?), fairly straight forward drive, but I get there a bit late, I had missed a couple of teams at the sign-on.
I feel I need to include a start Pic of Hugh John Carthy
Giro d’Italia and Tour de France winners, stars of the show on the line
The scrum was already at the sign-on podium, so I join in and wait to see who comes up, the Umbrella Witch is here this morning, making a proper nuisance of herself again. She must be Vegni’s daughter or something. At one point she actually knocked my camera, all 3kgs of it, out of my hand, if it wasn’t on a harness it would’ve been on the ground. She didn’t even glance my direction.
Formolo – Italian champion ready to go
Edet at the start, just thinking about it
Anyway we were in another beautiful piazza, this was a start that had a scary 10km drive to the summit, unusual, I think for a start. Very overcast again, so not any kind of view on the road up.
Hubert Dupont’s last race day after 15 years
The season end isn’t far away
I get some good pics in the square, although as always they set up the podium for the sign-on facing east so at noon when your taking photos the sun that there is, is right in your face. I’ve decided I really like photos of the peloton waiting in the period after the sign-on and before the start. They’re all talking to friends, old team mates or in some cases just someone who speaks the same language. These photos tend to be the most relaxed.
Santuario d’Oropa – Another stunning finish
Flecha and friend – Sorry I don’t recognise him
After they set off I head back to the car for the drive to Oropa. It should take about an hour. When I get to Biella, it’s another scary 20 kilometres vertical, but I’m doing okay, but I take a wrong turn in a village… it’s difficult to know when its wrong at points, I was driving on those sacred cobbles that should be protected and down corridors the width of the car. Just trust Google. Never let me down.
And the victory goes to Tour de France winner – Egan Bernal
Anyway, I take a wrong turn and I realise it immediately – and stop in the middle of the road, the car that had been behind me tooted his horn and showed me his pass, and pointed up the road. So I followed this guy, must have been 20 kilometres, he was wonderful (and the same directions as google till 5km) and waited for me every time it was required, he even wouldn’t go on a roundabout if he thought I would get stuck. I did think at one point that this guy hadn’t used his indicators so much since he taught his daughter to drive.
Nans Peters just stopped and hit the ground after the finish
Davide Villella home in 7th place
Giovanni Visconti did not have too much fun today, and now I’m in his way – 8th place
When we hit the course I thought he would leave me, because I had kilometre signs to lead me, right to the top. Then he even took me to a space for parking that we could both park, I could have driven on and got Stampa parking with my car pass, but that would just be cheeky and I wanted to thank this dude. When we parked it turns out he was Androni hospitality. I thanked him, and he set off down the hill, while I got my kit out. When I get down to the finish I ask the police where the HQ office is for the Stampa. They point to the parking area that I could have parked in. The air is thin again for me, and we’re at the summit of a hill and of course, it’s at the top of the building, but only 2 flights of giant stairs this time. And it is another glorious building. We really are very privileged in this job. I do what I need to do and head out to the finish.
Young Clement Champoussin coming in just behind Visco
Carlos Verona getting a helping hand
Nico Edet felt that
At the finish line all the ‘photogs’ gather and the stalking for a spot starts. I see annoying Umbrella Woman set off down the hill, I can only imagine she is going for the 1K to go, she won’t make it back, but hey, that’s more for us. As the scrum starts in earnest I notice no-one is taking the very front spot, which is generally the most sought after, so I say to another female photographer that I could go for that, but I know I’ll get bumped by a pink vest. She said it would be okay as they all have three hundred lenses and want to be at the back… only this time, though. So I plonk myself on the ground, cross legged, waiting for the: “Hey Mrs, shift!” or would that be “Ehi! Signora, cambiate!” – But it never came – even Stefano the ‘God of the finish line’ let me be.
Ghebreigzabhier and Garosio coming in 17th and 18th
Herrada made it in 19th
So after yesterday being my best position ever, today surpassed that. I am really pleased with my photos from the finish, because of the sun the start are okay. I hope you enjoy them.
Flag of the day
By the way, 4 things from today:
1. I had to go through one of those unlit mountain tunnels, today, twice! Change your knickers.
2, Androni Sidermec won the Italian title for however may times now and are still disrespected by RCS.
3. Giovanni Visconti won the individual prize.
4. And yes SkIneos got 1st and 2nd but France got 3rd.
I head back to Novara, and I am currently eating dinner and drinking lots. It’s rest day tomorrow. I just need to go to Bergamo for creds.
See you Saturday at Il Lombardia.