Saturday, June 2, 2007

June 2: Bardolino - Verona (TT), 43 km

I went to pickup my packet for the PEDALATA IN ROSA on Thursday. In addition to the pink jersey to be worn during the ride there were bottles of wine, olive oil, and a package of riso and some pastries. The jersey is a very nice souvenir since it says "Bardolino Verona, 2 giugno 2007".

Today, June 2nd, was an early wake up day. The weather looked nasty, it was chilly, and rain was forecast. I met my friend Tricia (an American that grew up in Verona but now lives in Sacramento and comes to Verona from time to time mainly to bike ride) in Piazza Bra at 7 a.m.

We took the most direct route and did a good pace and arrived in Bardolino at 8:10, in time for coffee. Just as we arrived it started to rain. We then paid a visit to Paola Pezzo (2 time MTB World Champion) and Paolo Rosola (14 Giro stage victories, wearer of the pink jersey in 1983) at their "Olympic Bike Center" in Bardolino (a must visit if you are at Lake Garda).

Everything was well organized and the start, with 500+ riders, went off on time at 9 a.m. Lots of motorcycles, and a lead car to clear the roads all the way to Verona on the actual TT course the pros would be riding in a few hours. We also had the same intermittent rain and winds that the pros would face in a few hours. I tried to imagine the insane risks the pros would take in order to move up some slots in the GC.

The details of the TT course:
Starting in the Bardolino wine region next to Lake Garda, the penultimate stage headed along the lakefront of Lago di Garda at Lungolago Lenotti, then looped through town and headed north to Garda, past Paola Pezzo's bike shop, due east up a climb to Costermano and to the first time check in Albarè after 10.3 kilometres. It then continued east to Rivoli Veronese, site of a famous Napoleonic era battle. The course turned south towards Verona through the vineyards of Valpolicella. The second time check, at 20.8 kilometres in Sega, then up and over the Pastrengo climb at mid-race then southeast towards Verona. Third time check was at Bussolengo at 29.8 kilometres, then it was a straight shot on fast, wide roads into the center of Verona to finish next to the famous Arena di Verona in Piazza Bra.

Paolo Savoldelli won the stage at a speed of 49.299 km/h (30.63 mph) in 52 minutes, 20 seconds. INSANE. DiLuca rode a fabulous TT, finishing 8th and giving him a 1 min 55 second lead over 2nd place Andy Schleck. In essence, DiLuca won the Giro today and said, "Il giorno più bello della mia vita" (the most beautiful day of my life).

Photos: PEDALATA packet contents, me in Bardolino, DiLuca on the TT course, DiLuca celebrating in Verona, Tricia and I in Piazza Bra

I'm off to Puglia!

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