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(This was written early afternoon - during the downpour)
The race reaches Brescia today - see above. If it is a sprint finish then it is one of the best sprint finish courses that The Greipel and any other sprinter could wish for in a giro. Wouldnt class this one as technical.
Went out at 10ish this morning and walked the course - whilst it was still being set up for the most part. Between 3 and 4km to go the course goes through a tunnel under a Castle, turns left, goes under the 3km to go. All roads from 3km to end nice and wide, one difficult corner at 2.2km to go, dead straight, a nice sweeping bend, nice and straight again. There is a roundabout to negotiate about 900m to the finish, then a long straight drag to the line.
If the teams with sprinters let this one go to a breakaway then they should all kick themselves - very hard indeed.
Some photos from earlier today
Straight wide road from 3km
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A dodgy 90 degree left just before 2km to go
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More wide sweeping roads
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Much work still to be done on the 1km to go sign
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At the roundabout just under 1km to go - there is topiary Coppi and Bartali
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Looking back to the roundabout from 300m to go - road straight as an arrow
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You can get to within 10m of the finish line and carry on past. Nearer than they ever let you at the Tour
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-- Interlude --
Back from the race. The race arrived into town on a road parallel to the finishing straight and then turned right at 5km to go, up the gentle hill towards the tunnel etc as above. Watched the race at that corner, and then (with several hundred or more Italians) ran 120 yards down the side street to the finishing straight and settled for being in front of the big screen by the 125m to go mark to watch the finale.
When they came past us the breakaway was still clear, with the pack not far behind
No pictures from the sprint - too busy watching. Lot of excitement in the crowd when Pozzato was playing amongst the sprinters. Commentator on loud speakers manic but bang on with the call throughout.
After the race is was back up the side street (with the rest of the crowd) as 50 metres past the bend the riders took all the team cars were parked. The scene there is best described as friendly chaos. Again you get much nearer the teams than at the tour where the riders all disappear off to a gated area after the race. Here the riders had to dodge through the crowd to try and find their bus - as Kiserlovski is doing here
I ended up stood next to the sky bus (I am a brit after all) looking for Wiggo (wsho it transpired was already on the bus when I got there) watching DB welcome home. It was bike to mechanic and onto bus for the riders.
Moncoutie goes past
Chris Froome nearly lands on me unclipping, Cummings looks on
What 50000 euros look like if you spend it on bikes
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No pictures of it but the other bus much the same was Lampre - saw it leaving with the riders at the front of the bus smiling and waving to the crowd (unlike other teams). Went off to wait for Richie P to come back - saw his flowers arrive but not him - sorry Seahorse no photo :(
You got the impre4ssion from the team staff not all stages end with such chaos - but I may be wrong. There loss, the fans gain. Speaking of which I palos got one of these
Finally - Well done The Greipel, nice win.