Giro d'Italia, On the Scene at Stage 18


Di Luca got a hero's welcome at the stage start in Sulmona, just 70 kilometers from his home in Pescara.  Here he is riding from the sign-in area to the start line.

 

 

 

 

The Abruzzo city of Sulmona, site of the start of stage 18, is the city of confetti, the candy-covered almonds thrown at at Italian weddings.  The streets are lined with shops that look like flower shops, but when you get up close, you see that all the flowers are made of candy.  This friendly shopowner showed me the special Giro confetti flowers he was selling, and I bought myself a small bouquet.

A2_medium

A1_medium


A group of school kids lined up to watch the stage start.

A7_medium

I saw Francesco Moser at several stages, always with his bike, still looking like a million bucks at age 57.

A1_medium

The start in Sulmona had a relaxed, fun atmosphere.  The riders knew they were in for a fairly easy stage, and everyone seemed in a good mood.  Gone was the hysteria of the early stages, when the press mobbed Basso and Armstrong.  Most of the foreign press were nowhere to be seen, and di Stefano and other Italian journalists goofed around as they waited for the riders, posing with the podium props.

A8_medium

Dave Z seemed rarin' to go.

A10_medium

Gustov was sporting a nasty patch of road rash from an earlier crash.

A9_medium

Dario Cataldo is another Abruzzese.

A11_medium

Scarponi always seems to be smiling.

A12_medium

Sastre and Lloyd looked like they were doing a radio check.

A13_medium

Basso looked serene, as always.

A14_medium

While Petacchi looked serious, as always.

A15_medium

Menchov seemed to be flirting with the idea of growing a goatee.

A16_medium

On the sign-in stage, Di Luca basked in the adoration of the tifosi.

A19_medium

At the mike, he thanked the crowd for their support, but asked that they cheer for everyone, and not whistle at any riders, as had apparently happened to Menchov and Pellizotti at the Blockhaus podium ceremony.

A3_medium

Even Lance Armstrong moved through the sign-in area unmolested by the press at this most mellow of stage starts.


A17_medium

Armstrong signed a fair number of autographs, but the autograph king was Di Luca.  He was the last to leave the sign-in area, and when someone showed him that it was time to go to the start line, he just gave a little shrug, and kept on signing.

A18_medium 

A4_medium

A5_medium

The riders assembled for the start in the beautiful Piazza Garibaldi.

A6_medium

 

  -- Susie Hartigan for Podium Cafe









X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.