Luke Evans is motorbike driver for top cycling photographer Graham Watson at the Giro d’Italia. Aside from piloting motorbikes, Luke is an author, freelance journalist and former editor of Cycle Sport magazine. Graham’s Giro photos can be seen in our gallery section.
May 23, Stage 13, Modena – Cittadella
Another flat one. As flat as a plate of risotto.
Very warm (for a Brit) but breezy and it rained a bit at the end. Cav won. Yes! Read Farrand’s story in CW, he told us last night over supper that he is bezzie mates with him again after Cav took umbrage over Steve’s story in which Pozzatto dissed the Manx Missile. How can you not like Cav? He is going to be very big very soon and if he doesn’t win a Tour stage this July I’ll eat my mouldy boots.
We dined like kings last night, by the way. Steve, Graham and I sat down at 9pm in an ‘Agri-Turismo’ restaurant – these places specialise in local food and wine and we were in Regio Emilia just outside Modena, the home of ham and Parmesan (there was a tenner’s worth slab in every place in the press room).
We had Parma ham and salami, with a bottle of white wine, then a selection of pasta dishes, a little glass of white sorbet to cleanse the palate, before tucking in to pigs’ cheeks (handsome fare) washed down with a couple of bottles of red. Have you ever had Limoncelli? – I can recommend that too, but my memory is somewhat hazy on the names of the red and green liqueurs that followed.
Sounds glib to say cycle racing is a beautiful sport, but in Italy, where else, this is so true I can get quite emotional about it. Everywhere we go is decorated with pink ribbons, pink balloons and just endless crowds of excited, happy, gleeful people. They always clap but mostly they cheer and shout, bang the boards at the finishes and wave at everything and anyone. There is not a hint of the Flemish flag brigade who get pissed and can be a bit intimidating.
The Italians just love the spectacle, they adore the aesthetic of the race and like all wise people, they take pleasure in the simple things in life like food, noisy things and elegant brickwork,
Bullshit over. Today I saw a poodle dyed pink, yesterday a sane middle aged bloke gently waving a pink carnation and today heard a lady exclaim in pure delight ‘Bellissimo!’ as we passed by. We are so unbelievably priviledged to soak up all that goodwill, happiness and joy in this beautiful Giro d’Italia.