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 30, Stage 19, Legnano – Presola Monte Pora 228km
I started the day in short sleeves and sunglasses and ended it shaking with the cold and from feet up: soaked (boots), dry (legs), wet and damp (chest). The warm weather at the get go in Legnano encouraged the Giro peloton into a fast start and after a dawdling few minutes while we cleared the outskirts the speedo was showing 40mph with the bunch stretched right out in a snaking line.
In 50 minutes we ticked off 25 miles with the speed hardly dropping below 30mph. If you think that sounds a bit tame – a good UK TT rider could do a 50 min ’25’ – you should factor in towns with sharp corners as well as the slow start. At one point we were doing 40mph up a shallow climb – the guys were flat out.
From Bergamo, the trek east began to look distinctly unpromising and soon after we had the first cloudburst with thunder and lightning, I only had my thin Goretex top on the bike, plus overtrousers and rubber overboots and at the cloud covered summit of Passo Del Vivione (1828m) was not looking forward to the long descent.
The break, with Steve Cummings in it, had 20 minutes on about 35 riders in the peloton, including Contador who looked comfortable but was not surrounded by team mates a la Discovery.
The descent was seriously flooded in many places, and very narrow too, with catch fences and crash pads against some of the rocky bits. I wasn’t doing much sightseeing but when I looked up the view was still spectacular.
On the final, leg-breaking 6km climb to Monte Pora the Fantozzi Giro took another unexpected twist as Contador struggled to close the gap on a rampaging Di Luca and could not respond to the attack by Ricco. We got in close for some Ricco shots and he looked good as he opened up a dangerous advantage on the Spaniard in the pink jersey.
The President of Kazakhstan was in the Astana car with Johan Bruyneel – he saw a great day of racing but his boy has one hell of a fight on his hands this weekend.
PREVIOUS GIRO BLOGS
May 29: Stage 18, Mendrisio-Varese
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