Blog: Luke Evans at the Giro d’Italia

Luke Evans is a cycling journalist, author and former editor of Cycle Sport magazine. In his spare time, he pilots top cycling photographer Graham Watson at the races. Currently, he’s taking Graham around the Giro d’Italia.

Stage 11, Torino-Arenzano, 214km

The guy who died. The long-time moto driver for Italian photographer Roberto Bettini. I knew him.

Fabio. He was in our team, we were travelling together in a van shared by Watson and Bettini.

Fabio had been a motorcyclist on the Giro for 33 years and I first met him last year.

Short, with a face like a walnut, and a shock of white hair, he looked pretty damn good for his 67 years. His forearms were strong and he had a moto driver’s handshake – crushing.

He didn’t speak one word of English, and my Italian is pathetic. But he was a fun guy. Two nights before he hit the truck eight of us were in a rustic agriturismo restaurant, Fabio grabbed an ancient pair of scissors, about a foot long and pretended to cut my hair.

We laughed even harder when a few chunks were spotted on the floor. I grabbed an equally antique spade and chased him around the table.

A good man. A kind person. One of the team. You don’t have to know someone for long to mourn their loss deeply, and I for one will never forget Fabio’s beaming smile as he looked into my face every few hours and said: ‘buongiorno Luke’.

Today was hot, pushing 30 degrees, and it looks set to stay that way. We climbed the Turchino Pass, the curtain opener to the finale of Milan-San Remo, and came down as fast as possible in front of the peloton, led by Armstrong and Di Luca.

Yesterday, Lance led up with the narrow steep climbs that seem to pop up out of nowhere in this Giro. He is just ticking off the boxes as he rides himself back into form. A stage win cannot be too far away.

Fabio knew Lance. Like the American he had also had testicular cancer and for the Centoanni Giro he had had made up a celebratory pink crash helmet with Giro photos on it, one of which was a signed shot of Fabio and Lance.

So it good to see Armstrong come up to Bettini this morning and offer his condolences before we stood for a minute’s silence at the start.

Luke Evans


Part three: Luke and Graham were first on the scene when Pedro Horrillo crashed

Part two: The bike has a problem on stage six

Part one: Kicking off the 2009 Giro