Luke Evans is a cycling journalist, author and former editor of Cycle Sport magazine. In his spare time, he pilots top cycling photographer Graham Watson at the races. Currently, he’s taking Graham around the Giro d’Italia. You can see Graham’s photos in our gallery section.
This is the southernmost point of the Centennio Giro. Last night we did the craziest thing of the whole race, we drove into the centre of Italy’s fourth biggest city.
In Napoli the driving is in the classic Italian style, with a hint of anarchy thrown in. Scooters come at you from all directions, girls on the back, hair streaming in the wind, talking on mobile phones.
A car without a dent is not a local and if they are not right on your back wheel, they are overtaking in the maddest places.
The streets are paved in dark, polished cobbles, with constant undulations, potholes and manhole covers. You don’t ride them, you surf them. Thank god it wasn’t wet.
It took half and hour to get into the centre of this Dickensian place where the crumbling facades of once fine Italian buildings are covered in graffity and strewn with litter.
Apparently they are collecting the rubbish at the moment. You would not know it. Stray dogs are all over, one was sleeping in the lobby of our hotel when we got from supper last night.
Yesterday’s stage took us along the Amalfi coast and finished above the great Bay of naples on the upper slopes of Mount Vesuvius.
If you get a chance to drive this 40km route which twists and turns along the Italian equivalent of south Cornwall then take it, because it is spectacular.
The biggest crowds of the race came out as we neared Vesuvius and here the contrast between north and south was most evident. It’s poorer down here and you can tell by the clothes the people wear and by the run down buildings.
It has more of a south American feel down here, and as I have never been there, what I mean is that it’s like the film set for a spaghetti western by Sergio Leone.
Vesuvius is a nice climb and the observatory, where the press room was located, is halfway up and has an interesting little museum.
The last volcanic activity was a load of hot ash which surprised American bombers in 1944, the next one, explained my helpful guide (I was loitering as usual, waiting for GW to finish work), was predicted to be really big, and as I hurried towards the motorbike he did not assure me by saying he had no idea when.