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Padania Stage 1

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This will probably result in a lifetime ban for Ricco, which means he wonít be joining us after all. It is probably for the best. A selfish part of me wanted him to join so that our racing calendar would continue beyond the second week of October.

Giuseppe, our masseur gave me a massage the day before Padania. Massage is one of those traditional things that all teams seem to do, I am still undecided as to how necessary they are and Iíve coped fine without them this whole time. There is no doubt that they feel nice when you have them, unless itís deep tissue massage in which case it still feels nice, but only afterwards. Giuseppe is a bit of an expert I think, he quickly found all these points on various places on my legs, all he had to do was push on them lightly and I would wince, breathe deeply and the pain would immediately go. It was slightly miraculous the way it all worked.

Startlist for Padania:

Here are all the stage profiles:

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Stage 1: 170km from Paesana to Laigueglia on the coast, going over a 1305m and 958m pass on the way. The start was really nice, a small break left the bunch after only a couple of k and we just cruised at 30kph for a long time. I mucked up my hydration strategy but it wasnít too big of a problem as I could just stop by the side of the road for a pee without any trouble, just like everyone else.

There isnít much more to say from my side of the story, Liquigas rode tempo and brought the break back and CSF Colnago set up the sprint for Modolo. I made it over the climbs, they were difficult but not too bad really. around 120 of the 200 rider field contested the finish, I suspect groups managed to get back on after the climb as there was a long descent down to the coast. I managed to stay with the front for the whole thing, an achievement of which I am pretty proud to be honest. The finish along the coast was fast but not too bad, I felt so much better than in all the other races so far. The bad thing that happened was that Marko crashed on the descent and had to abandon, he was lucky that he only had a few stitches as he was in severe danger of breaking something!

The most interesting thing to happen on this stage was that after around 60k the peloton was halted by the Italian Communist party. Yes, you read it right, there is an active communist party in Italy. They had red flags with hammers and sickles on them. It was utterly bizarre, I was simply stunned, it was also quite funny. We were let through without much hassle really as the police managed to make some room.

I was sort of expecting some kind of political protest at some point, Padania is the name for the north of Italy, it Is also a name of a political party that wants to separate from the southern half of Italy. I was expecting some sort of aggression against our team, which is the only pro team in the whole of southern Italy. In fact the name Meridiana isnít even a company that sponsors our squad, as far as I can tell the money is provided by some private individual(s) who decided this was a good way to promote southern Italian tourism.

It was particularly funny for me because I am currently rereading (for the 3rd or 4th time I think) one of my favourite books. It is called The Don Camillo Omnibus by Giovanni Guareschi, it is a bunch of short stories set in a village in Italy. The two main characters are Don Camillo (the local priest) and Peppone the local (communist) mayor and the small political battles that they both undergo daily in their little village. I am reading a translation but hope to be able to read the original in Italian one day. I highly recommend it, it is extremely funny. Itís also good for a stage race as each story is so short, they were written for Italian newspapers shortly after the second world war.

Politics and cycling run deep in cycling:

I think overall I welcome the protests, so long as they are safe and donít affect the outcome of the race too much, for me it just adds a bit more colour to the whole experience. As for redistributing the wealth amongst the proletariat masses et. etc., well that's another matter altogether.

I am reliably informed that the prizes they are handing out to stage winners at the Vuelta were all bought at Waresley garden centre.
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Updated 11-09-2011 at 07:51 PM by David Mclean

2011 - Meridiana Kamen


  1. James W's Avatar
    "I am reliably informed that the prizes they are handing out to stage winners at the Vuelta were all bought at Waresley garden centre."

    Better than what used to grow in the urinals in Reed cafe.

    Congrats on today!
  2. James W's Avatar
    PS if you're going to be in Rovereto, you're very close to the world's toughest climb (according to Climb By Bike - humph just checked and it's been relegated to #6!) the via Scanuppia (I think i might have mentioned it to you before): Don't try riding it though as it's 45% in places.
    Updated 07-09-2011 at 09:59 AM by James W
  3. James W's Avatar
    Well done today! I see you're 3 places ahead of your friend Visconti!