Giro d’Italia Team Presentation

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-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.

-1 week, 4 countries, 4 races- Part 2 Paris-Nice

Two 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.

If you wanna read how this adventure started, please see part 1.

So, the ending of the last part left us standing on a square in Brugge with a long day and night ahead of us. I will skip that part, but it truly was long, boring, cold and definitely not something we like to remember. I will mention one thing though. Waiting for your transportation to arrive sometimes connects you with a bunch of random people. In this case with people who were crazy enough to take a bus at 2 am. Often these people also love to travel (the cheaper the travel, the more you can travel obviously) so you can exchange some amazing stories. We never met anyone who travels a lot to visit cycling races though, I guess we’re the only ones who are that crazy 😉

Anyway, let’s fast forward to Paris. Or to be more precise Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where the prologue of Paris-Nice took place. It’s a town to the north-west of Paris. The teams were situated along the Seine which runs through the town. If you could see past the filthy water and the garbage floating around, it was quite nice. Especially when the sun came out.

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But we weren’t there to enjoy the view, we were there to see riders and teams and everything else that comes along with warming up for a prologue. This wasn’t the first race of the season for us (that was yesterday after all), but in a way it was. When you visit a lot of races you mostly see the big teams and most of them weren’t present the day before. After the off-season it’s always nice to see familiar faces, those of riders as well as of the staff. With riders you know whether they stayed at their old team or switched to another. With staff you never know, so it’s nice to see they still have a job or switched teams (which happens quite often actually).

Because we were very tired we alternated between sitting on a stone wall overlooking some teams to rest and walking around in a circle around te teams to keep warm. We took a lot of pictures and saw a lot of guys warming up and cooling down. At the end we were so tired we spent all of our time on the stone wall, watching the riders making their way to the start. As it is with most races we go to, we never know who has won until the next time we have access to the internet again. Usually that is later that day, but in this case I think it took until the next morning. Going to races ironically isn’t the best way to get the results right away. We had to catch another night bus back to Brussel after the race and from there we would fly to Italy. We knew that it was going to be the hardest day because our bodies would be drained of all energy. The reward however was one of the things we love most in this world: Italy.

Coming up in part 3: Tirreno Adriatico. But first, please take a look at some of the pictures we took below.

 

-1 week, 4 countries, 4 races- Part 1 Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen

Two 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 the first part of our trip, which started in Belgium. The start of the first stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen in Brugge. The race started with a prologue the day before. We arrived in Brugge after an almost decent night of sleep (6 hours). Because we knew what was coming (late night bus trips, sitting in the cold and no bed for some time) it was hard to get really excited, perhaps we were already saving energy. Also the race seems to be getting smaller and smaller each year. Big teams decide they no longer want to race there, for example Team Sky had plans of riding the race this year,but withdrew shortly before the start. The race still serves as our start of the season though and it has been for the past 6 years. It was lovely to feel the energy surrounding the race. The riders getting ready to sign in, joking around with teammates and taking pictures with fans. The old men walking around telling each other stories of riders and races in the past. The cycling enthusiasts who ride their bikes to races (and majorly get in the way of everybody else, but that’s for another post). The little kids running around collecting whatever they can get their hands on. Those are all things that you forget in the off-season, but make you feel right at home when you’re back. The sign-in was pretty uneventful, we stood in the middle of the square taking pictures and enjoying the feeling it was all starting again. At some point the square started getting empty and we knew it was time to go to the side of the road to catch a glimpse of the start. There’s a crowd of people with the same idea so we all push around until we have a good view of the road. Then there’s a pang and the cars start moving. Before you know it there is a large blur of riders passing by. You hear the wheels and smell the eau de cologne. Here and there you recognize a rider. And then it’s over, just like that. Everybody makes their way to the finish, back home or wherever it is they’re going. We are probably the only ones making their way to the bus station, where we have to wait until two am before our bus will show up to take us to Paris. At the moment we knew it was going to be a long day, but it would be worth it. And it was.

Next up: Part 2 Paris-Nice