French journalist Antoine Plouvin raced to the stage start today at the Giro d'Italia. He hadn't just finish some collazione at his Bari hotel, but rather a 38-hour trip from Dublin to Italy's south.
"I looked around today," Plouvin said. "I think I was the only one to drive the 2700 kilometres from Belfast to Bari."
Plouvin finish his work in the Dublin pressroom after stage three and drove immediately to the port to board the ferry. At 20:50, he boarded the boat with his silver Skoda branded with the name of the website he writes for, Cyclism'Actu. He arrived in Bari today at 12:20. With the time difference calculated in, he travelled 38 hours to reach the start of the fourth stage.
"Yeah, but I stopped at home in Calais for two hours!" he said.
The excitement of his job pushed him on. So much so, he only stopped twice for an hour each time. One of those times, he took a shower and washed his long brown hair in a truckers' stop.
"It was a race the entire way," he explained. "From Holyhead at 0:30, I had to cover 600 kilometres to reach Dover and a ferry that left at 7:30. It wasn't easy."
From home in Calais, Plouvin crossed the French countryside – Reims, Dijon and Annecy – before arriving at the Mont-Blanc tunnel. It was his own Tour of Britain and Tour de France combined to arrive at the Giro d'Italia. And it didn't stop at the tunnel, from there, he had 1100 kilometres to cover: Turin, Milan, Bologna, Ancona and finally, Bari.
"After 2700 kilometres," he said, "I was on time for the stage start!"
Plouvin writes for a website that started with volunteer staff, however, it must still count every euro it spends. He said that it costs less to travel as he did than to fly, rent a car in Belfast for the Ireland stages, and fly down to Bari to rent another car. And if he did it that way, he would not have his silver branded Skoda with race-style wheels.
Plouvin's travels do not stop with the Giro. Beforehand, he covered all the classics, from Dwars door Vlaanderen to Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Romandy.
"I returned home to Calais after Romandy on Monday at 2:00 and left for England at 2:00 on Tuesday," he added. "I drove through England, north to Cairnryan and took the ferry to Belfast."
After the Giro d'Italia, Plouvin continues his Giro. He will cover the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Tour of Switzerland and the Tour de France.
"It's about 70,000 kilometres of driving a year and about 200 days away from home, but I'm single, 27 years old and I enjoy it."
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