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Giro d’Italia; On the scene for week two

After seeing the Giro’s Sicily stages, I flew to Rome and spent a couple of days in lovely Tivoli, then rejoined the Giro for stage nine. The steep climb to the finish line at Campo Imperatore made for a dramatic finish, and gave Simon Yates the first of his three (so far) stage wins.

It looked like a tough finale for Tom Dumoulin, who finished 12 seconds down, with George Bennett and Miguel Angel Lopez.

Wout Poels, at 1’02” down, looked better than his team captain, Chris Froome, who lost the wheel at the tail end of the group led in by Poels, and finished another five seconds down.

On the rest day, I traveled to Osimo, which was already all decked out in pink two days before Wednesday’s stage 11 finish there.

My B&B in Osimo was on the stage’s finishing straight, 100 meters from the line, with a bird’s-eye view of the line from my window. I saw from the Garibaldi (the road book), that in the twisting, turning last kilometers, the short, pave climb with a 16% grade that the riders would tackle five k from the finish was actually only a few hundred meters away as the crow flies. The Garibaldi estimated it would take the riders seven or eight minutes to cover those last five kilometers, so I timed myself running from the pave climb to my B&B and up the three flights of stairs to my room, to see if I could possibly get photos in both places. Four minutes, point to point! Plan A was a go.

Luckily, the group of i big, lead by Jack Haig, was just behind the breakaway riders, Stybar and Wellens, so I was able to catch both groups before my dash to the B&B.

My cool view of Yate’s stage win (and of the gruppetto coming in a few minutes later):

At the press conference, Yates sported the double kiss prints of a stage winner in the maglia rosa.

Osimo also hosted the next day’s stage start, where I shot a few portaits (Chad Haga, Louis Meintjes, Esteban Chaves, Elia Viviani), and then the umbrella line-up and the roll out.

In Nervesa della Battaglia, on a pass through the town 30k before the finish, the breakaway was being chased down by the teams of Elia Viviani and Sam Bennett, who rewarded their teams’ efforts with a one-two finish 30k later.

The next day, at Monte Zoncolan, the sprinters were far behind as Chris Froome salvaged at least one good memory from this Giro with a hard-fought stage win.

After the stage finish, the police (in the blue pants) who had been marshaling the narrow road to the top of the Zoncolan, rode a chair lift down to the parking area.

Finally, in Sappada yesterday, Simon Yates captured his third stage win, gaining another 41 seconds on Lopez, Dumoulin, et al.

No photos from this podium ceremony; frankly, they’re getting a bit repetitive!