We had a great day at the Giro's final mountain stage. Though the overall victory was pretty much sewn up awhile ago, seeing the epic stage to Sestriere via the unpaved Colle Finestre was too tempting to miss. We've taken our clients over this pass a few times since its 2005 debut but this was our first time seeing the pros race over it. We drove up from our HQ to Susa, parked the van and jumped onto the bikes. The 19 km ascent was closed to everything except bicycles and people on foot so everyone you see in these photos got up there under their own power, including us. In the past we've climbed this at the end of our season with plenty of miles and climbs in our legs but this year was very different as we're lacking much in the way of form now. Our struggle was made easier by the amazing job the organizers did on the unpaved surface - watered and rolled smooth for the race and a LOT different from what we experienced in the past. Here are some photos of the promotional stuff Susa put up to welcome the race as well as some crowd shots and a race photo or two. This is the closest we've ever been to the racers as they came past us and looked down the valley to see their chasers below. Epic courses like this are what sets the Giro apart from the other big races and we hope the organizers ignore the whining of certain team directors and keep La Corsa Rosa the most beautiful of races, if not the biggest.
Larry has to add a plug for PezCyclingNews
as our friend Richard was atop the Finestre as we rode up. He's probably the guy "in the biz" who loves Italy and Italian cycling almost as much as we do and it not only shows in his website, but in the fact that he shows up all over Italy. We saw him last year atop the Poggio at Milano-San Remo.. We took a photo of Richard to show he made it up the climb (from the backside this time) but couldn't get the darn photo adjusted via the computer program to show him vertically! Sorry Richard, next time Larry will orient the camera correctly so we can show your smiling face!