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


  • Alistair Nitz

    Reading the blog brought back memories of last Saturday. We were also caught up Zoncolan in the huge storm that struck the area too. I lost half the family only to find them one hour later. I now have two memories of that day. Igor Anton huge ride and being stuck on Monte Zoncolan for two hours while the storm past and the chair lift started working again. Oh well, that experiences are part of watching cycling.

  • Paul

    That was us in the Tour de France last year at Station des Rousses.
    Glorious sunshine. Sylvain Chavenel bagged the stage and took yellow.
    Then within quarter of an hour the heavens opened on hundreds of us who had a 40 minute walk back to our cars and buses, most without rain jackets and some clutching bits of cardboard box over their heads.
    It rained and rained and we looked like lost sheep or something more apocalyptic.
    Great memory.