[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Italian flag
Photographs from the Giro d'Italia, 29 May 2010

Gavia Day
The Giro d'Italia route today was from Bormio, down the valley for about 45 km to Tirano, then turning right and heading through the Swiss border gates up the long climb of the Passo Bernina. About 4 km short of the summit, the race turns right, going back across the border into Italy and uphill for another 4 km over the Forcola di Livigno, then descneding down into the town of Livigno before another climb up over the Passo di Eira, a short descent of a few km then yet another short climb over the Passo di Fosagno. The race then drops down the long descent back to Bormio before the real fun begins: the 26 km of uphill road to the top of the famous Passo Gavia. Once over the top of the Passo Gavia the race scends down to Ponte di Legno and turns left onto the main road to finish at the top of the Passo del Tonale. The weather was again quite cloudy, but not as bad as yesterday and considerably warmer. Rain looked a possibility today but less likely than yesterday.

As my hotel was only 20 km down the road from Bormio I decided, after breakfast, to ride up to Bormio and spend a couple of hours hanging around and checking out the bikes, riders, etc before the race start. I stopped at the hotel where the Katusha and Quick Step teams were staying and took a look at the bikes which were leaning up outside waiting for their riders. This trip to Italy was the first time I'd ever used a compact chainset and it made me feel better to see that every one of the Katusha and Quick Step team bikes were also using compact chainsets with 50 and 34 toothed chainrings. Their gearing was still bigger than mine though; the biggest sprockets on their cassettes were 25s.

I didn't want to ride up the Passo Gavia too soon because I didn't want to be hanging around in the snowy cold for longer than necessary. So after the stage start, while the tour riders were on the loop around Tirano and Livigno, I headed uphill from Bormio to the Bormio 2000 ski field for a fantastic view over the town. The road to Bormio 2000 was a nice climb through tree-lined hairpin bends and while I wouldn't class it as an easy climb it never gets uncomfortably steep.

The climb up to the Passo Gavia is much longer but not as steep as yesterday's climb up the Mortirolo. It's not as consistently steep as the Mortirolo but is just as steep in some sections. The road up high is also very broken and potholed above the snow line. About two thirds of the way up the climb I rode up behind somebody I thought I recognised. It was Andrea from the Mortirolo yesterday. What are the chances?! By the time I got to the summit the police were not letting anybody ride back down. One guy was particularly determined andgot on his bike and set of down the hill. One of the policemen ran at him and physically pushed him into the barriers. A great bit of "pre-match" entertainment!

See also, photos from yesterday's Mortirolo stage.

Photo of Quick Step team bikes
Quick Step bikes
Photo of Katusha team bikes
Katusha bikes
Photo of Filippo Pozzato
Filippo Pozzato
Photo of Katusha team riders
Katusha team riders
Photo of Stefano Garzelli
Stefano Garzelli
Photo of Alexandre Vinokourov
Photo of Davide Moncountié
Davide Moncountié
Photo of Michele Scarponi
Michele Scarponi

Photo of Carlos Sastre
Carlos Sastre
Photo of Marco Pinotti
Marco Pinotti
Photo of Bradley Wiggins
Bradley Wiggins
Photo of Dario Cioni
Dario Cioni

Photo of the stage start
Stage start
Photo of Gilberto Simoni and Johann Tschopp
Passo Gavia
Photo of Thomas Voeckler
Thomas Voeckler
Photo of Filippo Pozzato
Filippo Pozzato

Photo of Stephen Cummings
Stephen Cummings
Photo of main bunch
Main Bunch