I arrived at Oropa by car in time to ride my bike part of the way down the climb and then ride back up, which is always fun on race day. As usual, the Marco Pantani fans club looked to be having the most fun of anyone, joking around with each other and cheering for every rider and car that went by. Their banner says, "Your attacks are legend, your smile is in our hearts. Thank you, Pirata."
The Oropa Sanctuary is an impressive complex in a beautiful setting.
After winning the sprint, Battaglin rode toward the podium, while the vanquished Cataldo collapsed at the fence just past the finish line.
Jan Polanc was fourth on the stage.
Cataldo and Nico Roche are helped up the steep cobbled road after the finish by their soigneurs.
Wellens and Santaromita:
Pozzovivo, wearing road grit and a necklace with a bicycle charm:
Battaglin and Uran on the podium:
The podium girls have to do some deep knee bends to kiss Arredondo's cheeks every day.
Twenty minutes after the stage leaders finished, a bloodied but unbowed Miguel Rubiano Chavez crossed the finish line.