-1 week, 4 countries, 4 races- Part 3 Tirreno Adriatico

Four weeks ago we started our trip that would take us to four different races in as many countries. A slightly crazy plan, but when you’re as crazy about cycling and traveling as we are, it’s not. We were sleep deprived, cold and basically only ate sugar for at least three days. But seeing all the amazing views along the way, the great pizza and pasta we had for dinner and enjoying the atmosphere surrounding the races definitely made up for that.

Today part 3, Tirreno Adriatico. It’s been a while since the last post, but we were busy with a lot of stuff including E3 Prijs en Gent-Wevelgem (more about that in a later post). Sadly in the meantime the cycling world lost two young riders under horrible circumstances. We won’t write a tribute, because there already are some good tributes floating around the web, but our thoughts are with their families and friends. May Antoine and Daan rest in peace.

Picking up where we left off, we just landed on Pisa airport. Usually I don’t write about our travels, but something happenend which I would like to write down. Pisa Airport is great as far as airports go, it’s warm inside, there are clean toilets and free wifi and the seats aren’t too uncomfortable. The only downside is that they close up after the last flight lands and won’t open again until four in the morning. We had decided to spend the night there and take the first bus to Pisa, we had a late flight so we figured a hotel would be a waste of money. At some point the guards came and friendly kicked us and an old lady out. The old lady startedcursing the guard in Italian and we figured she wasn’t too happy with being kicked out. The guard gestured to us that she was a bit crazy and we all laughed. It quickly became clear that there really was something wrong woth the lady, because she kept on cursing for minutes.  At some point she lied down on one of the benches and still kept cursing. She even fell asleep and the first she did when she woke up, was curse again. It was quite funny and we were desparate for anything that could distract us from our lack of sleep and the cold. And somehow the cursing Italian lady really made me feel like I was in Italy and I couldn’t wait for the next few days of amazing food and a great race.

We arrived in Lido di Camaiore a few hours later and checked into our hotel. The race wouldn’t start until the next day, but still there was no time to sleep. The teams would do recons for the teamtimetrial today. We made it to the main road and sat down on some pavement (exhaustion will do that to you). We saw some teams pass by and even waved to some of the riders who recognized us.

The next day we woke up completely refreshed and ready. The good thing about a TTT is that usually all the riders start their warmup around the same time. So if you make sure you’re at the right team at the right time you can see all the riders. We ofcourse have our favorite teams, so we split our time between them. Th teams were all parked on a long road so you passed a lot of teams while walking around. So we walked around, took a lot of pictures and just enjoyed being there. I rememeber lots of tiny things, like the sound of the wheels when eight guys are warming up. That a lot of the staff members were walking around with pizza boxes.That the crowd that had gathered outside the Astana bus was blocking an entire road and even the riders and their cars couldn’t pass. At the end, as we were walking to our hotel, we could see the BMC guys splashing each other with champagne on the podium from afar. And with that the day was over asfar as cycling was concerned.

The next day the start was in Camaiore itself, so we had to take a bus. It was a lovely drive with awesome views even though I knew I probably wouldn’t enjoy them on the way back. In Camaiore all the teams had to park in a stadium. They were all parked in a circle with a big field in the middle, so ofcourse we had to make some 360 degrees photos. After that we hung out near the entrance where everybody would exit and enter as they left for the sign in. We again took lots of pictures. Then all the riders left and it was over. We decided to wait until the end and watch the buses leave. It was apparently pretty hard to get out of there. One of the buses even got stuck in the mud and had to be pulled out by another bus.

Then it was really over, we spent some time in Pisa (I finally saw the tower of Pisa ;)) and had some amazing pizza, but we were quite sad that we had to leave Italy. Back in Holland we didn’t even have time to recover, because we immediately went to the Ronde van Drenthe.

Next up: Part 4 Ronde van Drenthe.