Cipollini walked in. He was wearing a skintight white shirt, matching white Nike hightops, and bedazzled jeans that looked like they were stolen from a flea market in Kansas, and would probably make Michael Ball cringe. I didn't get a picture of him that day, but I had done so the day before. In case you were wondering, he drives a de-badged Audi A8. And just like you'd expect, he pays an unusual and rather humorous amount of attention to any young-ish woman in his general vecinity. At one point I saw him walk into a lobby, go straight toward two women, and begin speaking enthusiastically with them while creepily rubbing their arms, and standing waaaaay too close to them. He'd never met them before (I checked with them afterward) but I guess that's just what you do when you're Cipollini. Legends don't write themselves you know.
|Mario Cipollini (photo: Cycling Inquisition)|
- On the day of the uphill time trial from Mori to Polsa, I met Oliverio Rincon
. Oliverio works as a director for Team Colombia, and during his time as a professional won stages in all three grand tours, and was fifth at both the Vuelta and the Giro. I spent a great deal of time with Oliverio that day, and was able to meet his wife and two sons. He's wonderfully kind, as is his family. He allowed me to ride in a team car with him for the lengthy transfer after the time trial as well. The whole time I was with him, I had endless questions I wanted to ask about a particular time in his life, but I didn't have it in me to bring any of it up. Curiosity is one thing, but having to ask a man a question that starts with, "so tell me about that one year when you were kidnapped twice..." is simply not easy to do. At least not for me.
|Oliverio Rincon (photo: Cycling Inquisition)|
- The award for happiest rider at the Giro must go to Edwin Avila. He smiles at every moment (except perhaps when he's eating before a time trial, as pictured below), and gives enthusiastic (sometimes double) thumbs-up whenever he's excited about anything...which appears to be all the time. Where I stood in the final snowy climb of stage 20, Avila went by and I shouted his name. He looked at me, smiled, and gave me...yes, a thumbs up. You can follow him on Twitter here
|Edwin Avila (photo: Cycling Inquisition)|
- Following the Giro on a day-by-day basis feels like
riding an angry, rabid bronco that is trying to throw you into outer
space. At least that's that what it felt like to me, in the way I went about things.
If (like me) you have self-imposed
dietary constraints, eating may not be an option at times during the
Giro. In fact, it
only took three days for me to adjust my belt to the next hole down. No
kidding. But I'm not alone in this. Ever try to find food, any kind of
food, at 11:30 pm in a tiny Italian town that shuts down when it's not
ski season? Don't, you won't find
anything. Parking a car there wont be easy either, and even
checking into the hotel will not be as simple as you'd think. You know
you're in trouble when there's a sign in the hotel door that starts
with, "for check in, walk four blocks north..." This is how you end up
going to bed at 3:30am, only to wake up at 7am, to do it all over again. But you end up loving it anyway.
- In the past, I've
been the kind of person who hops fences, and pretends to have
credentials at one-day races. While there was still a little bit of that
going on, I should thank Mr. Matt Rendell
a man who has been nothing but helpful, kind and encouraging to me. He helped me
secure credentials, which made my day-to-day activities much easier.
- Favorite type of rider at the Giro? For me, anyone who doesn't wear sunglasses all the time, since they don't look like Robocop in pictures...as most sunglass-clad riders do. For this reason, I must give my first ever Greatest Rider Ever award to Cannondale's Cayetano Sarmiento. I spoke with him for a short while at the start of the uphill TT. He was there early, and stood around without much to do, except talk to me. At the end of our conversation, I asked if I could take his picture. The moment I asked, he took off his glasses without me saying a word about them. Greatest Rider Ever.
|Cayetano Sarmiento (photo: Cycling Inquisition)|
|Ramūnas Navardauskas (photo: Cycling Inquisition)|
|Giovanni Visconti (photo: Cycling Inquisition)|
|Sergio Henao (photo: Cycling Inquisition)|
|Rigoberto Uran (photo: Cycling Inquisition)|
|Alessandro Proni (photo: Cycling Inquisition)|