Giro D’Italia 2009

skoda9th May 2009 – the opening stage of the Giro D’Italia was held in Venice (Lido). The last time the Giro came to Venice was in 1997.  This year is the Giro’s 100th year birthday. Big names showed up – like Lance Armstrong, Carlos Sastre (last year’s Tour de France winner), Ivan Basso, Cavel Evans, Alessandro Ballan and Damiano Cunego. On May 7th, the team presentation was made at Piazza San Marco.

 We took the vaporetto line 1 from Accademia, after 35 mins we reached Lido. Several teams were out doing warm up laps and it was a hot day with a nice breeze! We got a route map and headed for the Partenza (the start gate). We traversed the charming Piazzale Santa Maria Elisabetta where the main street is lined with shops, charming cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels.

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Left: The Astana Team presentation at San Marco square. Right: Gondola ride with Lance Armstrong, Gilberto Simoni,  Ivan Basso and Danilo di Luca . Photos taken by Bettini and Sirotti

It was a great day out with many pleasant surprises. We were walking towards the start gate, when we stumbled upon the team area where the cyclists would warm up before their time trial. We expected that only personnels are allowed into the area, but the public was able to go in and wander around freely. We took many great photo shots there. However hoping to chance upon Mr Armstrong was not that easy. Obviously their team has got a special parking spot elsewhere possibly due to security reasons and far from the maddening crowd I would imagine.

Nevertheless, the other positive surprises were we saw Bjarne Riis (former  Tour De France champion 1996, now the manager for Saxobank cycling team) chatting with a colleague and Brian Holm (sports director for Team Columbia-Highroad). Both are well known Danish cyclists.

As we continued on further we saw another parking area for a team – it was Liquigas , which explains the high number of Italians around – hahah! oh wait, we ARE in Italy .. tsk tsk dah! Of course we had to check it out. I was as usual walking and admiring my surroundings when I realised all the people ahead of me were looking at my direction. Hmm.. what for? Within a few seconds I could hear the whirls of their bikes, it was the Liquigas team and I was almost knocked down by Ivan Basso – the man himself! He was rather self effacing and polite and had a pleasant smile on his face, I thought  he would be rather annoyed to have a fan loitering around oblivious to being almost run over! Too bad , I was too slow with the camera.

And so it appears the Liquigas team had their chill out / warm up spot by Trattoria Favorita –  a good place for a meal in Lido, by the way.  Below from left to right: Ivan pushing his bike in front of me, Ivan on the warm up stationary bike, Ivan and the Liquigas cyclists waiting for their boat ride to Lido di Jesolo for the next stage the following day.

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The fist stage was the team time trial.  The first team that started at 1545hr actually became the winning team, ie Team Columbia Highroad which covered the 21km distance in 21  mins 50 secs . The last team to ride out was Team Astana (with Lance Armstrong) who came in 3rd.  Team Garmin was no. 2 while Ivan Basso’s Liquigas – a favourite to win came in 8th place. So for the first day, it was Mark Cavendish that had the rossa jersey for Team Columbia – Highroad.

Photo of team Columbia-Highroad below – in action.

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As for us, the day ended well with me having my gelato (and a blister on the underside of my poor toe) and Henrik, his camera full of photos of the day!

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One thought on “Giro D’Italia 2009

  1. Many thanks for your Giro DItalia 2009 Adventures of a Wandering Nyonya site and for writing about my beloved city.
    Venice is merely the most wonderful place worldwide!
    The Venice Carnival is unbelievable! The masks and fancy dress costumes are eye-catching and the scenery is merely
    marvelous. In Venice, often there is something totally new to find out.

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