My dear friends in Bergamo thankfully emerged unscathed by the Covid-19 pandemic which engulfed the town. In their honour, I’m featuring one of the town’s statues. This monument to Victor Emmanuel II dominates Bergamo’s Piazza Giacomo Matteotti. The landmark was carved by Luigi Pagani and Francesco Barzaghi and erected in October, 1884.
Yesterday, was the race of the falling leaves, one of the five Monuments (major Classics races) of the cycling season. We should’ve been there enjoying the live racing, drinking Aperol Spritzs in some of our favourite cafes and appreciating the wonderful scenery. We weren’t there for two reasons: my beloved’s hip and the parcours.
We prefer to stay in Como rather than Bergamo to watch the race. We’ve done Bergamo, it’s a perfectly lovely town but it’s much further away from us by car than Como. We like it when the race starts in Como, as it did in 2016. Last year’s race started in Bergamo and, thanks to traffic problems, we had a nightmare of a journey to collect our accreditation. Naturally we were expecting this year’s race to start once more in Como. It didn’t. It started in Bergamo, again.
Consequently we were more than happy to watch the race on the big screen. The main action at the pointy end of the race involved last year’s winner who lives nearby in Lugano, Vicenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), initially going mano-a-mano with the winner of this week’s Milano-Torino, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ). The latter dropped the former and prevailed to win his first monument and become the first Frenchman to win the race since Laurent Jalabert in 1997.
Despite missing out on a trip to Como, it’s not all doom and gloom. We rather enjoy a bit of la dolce vita at this time of year, the cycling is merely an excuse or rather our reason to visit. Instead, mindful of my beloved’s soon-to-be-replaced hip, we’ve decided to spend a couple of days in Alassio at one of our favourite hotels which has a Thalassotherapy treatment centre. My beloved will be able to soak his cares away during the day and we’ll be able to enjoy nibbles and Aperol spritzs galore in the evening. We’ll be strolling along the shore rather than the lake – a result all round!
In order to have a complete break, we’ll be leaving the mobile phones, iPads and Macs at home. It’ll be a three-day digital detox. I wonder how we’ll fare?
(Two images from the race courtesy of RCS and La Presse – D’Alberto / Ferrari)
Last week-end was my beloved’s and my maiden Il Lombardia. We’ve visited and cycled in the area many times but never watched the race live. This year’s edition kicked off in Bergamo, a delightfully historic town with some truly memorable architecture, great shops and restaurants – just perfect for a week-end’s break.
Here’s the “Three Amigos” and my dedicated team of cake and cookie testers. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. It was nice of them to offer. Ian has recently renewed for two years with Sky thereby continuing his love affair with Nice which he now calls “home”.
Larry meanwhile has signed on for another year with IAM – still the best kit in the peloton.
Joe aka the King of Utah has another year with Cannondale.
I had hoped that twice runner-up Samu Sanchez might be third time lucky this year but he was clearly riding in support of PhilGil.
The bookies’ favourite, thanks to his win earlier win in Tre Valli Varesine, Vincenzo Nibali looked focused and set to redeem what was by his standards a miserable 2015 season.
Former Cote d’Azur resident, Max Monfort looked deadly serious before the start. Intent on his role supporting Tony Gallopin or dreading the torrential downpour?
A magical part of the world though (sadly) no sighting today of local resident George Clooney. He’s obviously not a cycling fan.
The race takes a first pass through Como en route to the final climb of the day. Messrs Kwiatkowski and Wellens leading here, were overhauled by eventual race winner Vincenzo Nibali.
It’s game over for these boys quite a few of whom didn’t bother with the final assault and headed directly for their team buses.
Tom Jelte Slagter catching his breath just past the finish line.
I know what you’re thinking. Where’s the photos of the winner crossing the finish line and the podium? You may well ask. Sadly my photographer was not well placed on the barricades and we were far too far from the podium to take any photos of the presentation of the prizes.
We’d seen (on the television) a great race, enjoyed the atmosphere and finally the sunshine before we drove back home. Of course, that’s the reality of watching live racing. You see the riders sign-on, set off, sometimes catch them en route and watch the rest of the race (and the podium) ceremony on the big screen.