If you thought the scenes of the field racing up Monte Zoncolan on Saturday were dramatic, you should have seen the crowds coming back down off the mountain.

Almost as soon as the main contenders had crossed the line that day, the heavens opened. There was hail, thunder, lightning, you name it. It was enough to keep me under the shelter of an awning for the best part of an hour.

But with deadlines pressing I eventually had to make a dash for it. To follow the road back down to the press room would have been a 4km walk. So I made for the chairlift I’d earlier come up on.

I had seen the crowds pouring that way ever since the storm had started but, because of the lightning, the chairlift had stopped running.

While hundreds had searched for shelter under whatever canopy they could find on top of this high ridge, I joined the scores of others choosing to take the direct line down the ski slopes.

Although now thawed, the wet and steepness of the pistes made them treacherously slippery. People were tumbling everywhere.

Forget the whole saga of Monte Crostis. This was like Gloucestershire cheese rolling.

Related links

Giro d’Italia 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Halfords CW banner 2011