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 24, Stage 14, Verona-Alpe di Pampeago
Lovers of the Giro, welcome. First, I have been asked to make it clear, by a person who shall remain nameless, that the impression that certain, er, far flung CW correspondents are living a debauched and lavish expense fuelled lifestyle, is without foundation.
The other night’s Agri-Turismo supper cost 35 euros each (about 30 quid). One of the three bottles we drank would cost that in the UK. And the three different liqueurs were very reasonable, so don’t blame us for the next one pence price rise of your fave mag (will that do it Steve? OK. Say well done to the Missile when you see him, ciao!)
What is it about Astana and bananas? Contador loves them and gets them brought to him every day. Today, loitering by the Astana Volvo, the soigneur comes over with two yellow SIS energy bars, telling DS Yates that Kloden loves the banana flavour and can he make sure he gets them during the race.
Yatesy’s car door is stuffed full with SIS bars, he complains that the Volvo does not have the storage space of the Skodas, which are the default team car these days.
Yates tells us about the time he rode up Passo Fidea in the Dolomites when DS’ing the Giro a few years ago. He wanted to see how fast he could go on the descent. He saw 96kph before the front tyre blew. No drama, he just rode back to the hotel.
Coming off the Manghen today we caught a Barloworld rider behing his team car bumper, chasing back to the peloton. I checked the speedo, just under 60mph and it felt damn fast on the motorbike.
Pablo Lastras is a great descender. The tall Spaniard caught me by surprise at the top and I blocked him a little, waited for an insult, or worse, but he rocketed past waving thanks. That guy can ride, I will find him and apologise before the race is over.
The Passo Manghen is an aristocrat of a climb. The top cuts across a jagged bowl streaked with snow and it’s forbidding in the clouds. Ride it if you can.