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 29, Stage 18, Mendrisio-Varese

I’m pretty sure I saw Michael Rogers today, riding to the start in his High Road kit but the little saddle pack gave away the fact that he is not riding the Giro, just going along to the start to say hello to the team.

He must live near to Mendrisio, which is on the south side of Lake Lugano in Lombardy, right up in the north of Italy.

Rogers is obviously back in training and after the bad luck of last year’s Tour, when he crashed out while virtual leader on the road, he must be determined to give a good account of himself this July.

Tony Rominger was super friendly to Graham and greeted him as a long lost friend. Graham was a bit non plussed, he doesn’t know him that well but it does go to show that the GW fizzog is remembered with affection by a few generations of pros.

I’m still trying to spot interesting stuff on the bikes here but you have to look long and hard these days to spot the one-off parts, prototype stuff or non team issue kit. The standard equipment, frames, components and wheels, is of such a high quality that few riders want or need to pimp their rides. It’s pretty easy to build a bike with standard kit that sits on the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg, about 15lbs, so why bother with trick stuff?

So I was surprised to see that one team had drilled the end of their alloy bars. They were putting tape on and about an inch along from the ends were three pencil diameter holes, repeated in the other side of the bar to make around nine holes. A production part? I don’t think so but if it is, it’s an unusual way to shed weight these days.

One reason pro bikes look so good is that virtually every rider has their stem rammed down onto the Ahead sets with no spacers. With proper old school round bars the front end looks really purposeful and is pure race bike.

Guess what? It rained again today throughout the stage – we are getting a bit tired of Fantozzi’s rotten weather curse on this Giro. In the Classics this spring and here, some riders have been using a sort of half overshoe that covers the toe and keeps the worst of the water out while not being too hot.

Shimano are still trialling pre-production Dura-Ace 2009 groupsets and I saw one on a Gerolsteiner Specialized yesterday. The new hoods are better looking and the cables are hidden now. Looks good. Today on a Milram Colnago, one rider had an unusually bulky quick release lever on his Shimano wheels. It looks like it might have electronics in it and uses a sensor on the spokes. I will investigate further.

Luke

PREVIOUS GIRO BLOGS

May 28: Stage 17, Sondrio-Locarno

May 27: Rest day

May 26: Stage 16, San Vigilio-Plan de Corones TT

May 25: Stage 15, Arabba-Passo Fedaia

May 24: Stage 14, Verona-Alpe di Pampeago

May 23: Stage 13, Modena-Cittadella

May 22: Stage 12, Forlin-Carpi

May 21: Stage 11, Urbino-Cesena

May 20: Stage 10, Pesaro-Urbino