STAGE 18
MORI / POLSA (TIME TRIAL)
20,6km

Course Overview (According to FIGHT FOR PINK): A straightforward, difficult time trial starting in Mori. Almost immediately after the start the 20km winding ascent begins, with an average gradient over the entire course around 5%. 9,5km into the route the riders pass the time check in Brentonico, in the midst of a some 2km respite from the climbing. Into Polsa, the riders finish with a final 3km of 6.8% and a finishing straight just 150m long and 6m wide.

manualforspeed_girostage18-3

Observations

  1. Three hours after warming up on the trainer at the hotel at 9:15 in the morning, Stefano Garzelli (Vini Fantini) unnecessarily rode his bike in circles around the start in the combination football pitch and velodrome, for what seemed like hours, in an effort (clearly) to be seen. He shaves his eyebrows.
  2. Filipo Pazzato rode around the start area on a mountain bike—parade-waving, signing autographs and posing for photographs. Of course, he wore camo shorts and trainers. Please see above.
  3. Mario Cipollini drives a de-badged Audi A8, Axel Merckx drives an Aston Martin, Filipo Pazzato drives a Lamborghini.
  4. 10% of the riders on the start at the start line appeared to have bib-short “spotting.”
  5. Vinokourov and several other Astana/Kazakh V.I.P dudes wearing DS Kit arrived to the start in a privately-chartered helicopter. As they de-airshipped a Personal Assistant-type person placed around the necks of each a pink lanyard, on the end of which was their particular credential.
  6. Garmin-Sharp has a big-screen TV built into the side of their Team Bus (so that fans crowding the bus can watch the race & lurk simultaneously—it’s a “thing”). Today during the Time Trial, even while Robbie Hunter, Peter Stetina, Tom Danielson, Ramunas Navardauskas and Thomas Dekker were racing, the TV played MTV Italian Hits.
  7. As riders warm-up for a Time Trial they stuff cotton balls soaked in menthol up their noses to open up their nasal passages, which cotton balls they remove right before mounting the start ramp, which practice results in a small, pungent pile of bio-hazardous waste at the bottom of the start ramp.
  8. While riding to the start ramp through a narrow alley, Samuel Sanchez (Euskatel-Euskadi), was forced to come to a complete stop when a fan, also wearing full Euskatel-Euskadi kit, riding in the opposite direction, accidentally blocked his way. No words were exchanged as they passed.
  9. Mario Cipollini wears white, puffy Nike high-tops and after-market bedazzled G-Star jeans.
  10. A rider from Euskatel-Euskadi has holes in his base layer.
  11. A priest standing near the start ramp physically ushered riders (especially Italian riders) over to an old man sitting in a wheelchair and wearing an oxygen mask, in order to say hello and shake his hand.
  12. Danny Pate’s hairline is past the crown of his head.
  13. Roberto Ferrari, Team Lampre-Merida, races with a Samurai-style Top-Knot.
  14. Rigoberto Uran looks like Mick Jagger, lead singer of the Rolling Stones, and is currently 3rd in the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
  15. Jose Serpa, Team Lampre-Merida, is racing with both a mustache and a soul patch.
  16. Everyone that works for Vini Fantini wears #fluo footwear, including—but not limited to—special edition #fluo Crocs (genuine, authentic Crocs).
  17. Alex Dowsett, Movistar, is one of six riders who raced today’s decidedly Uphill time trial in an aero helmet.
  18. Team Androni Giocatolli-Venezuela races in Safety Glasses.
  19. Carlos Betancur, Team Ag2r, and Sergio Henao, Team Sky, are the only two members of the peloton racing in braces.
  20. Pablo Lastras (Movistar) wears friendship bracelets.
  21. Graham Watson wears shorts and Teva sandals to breakfast, even at altitude, even when it’s raining.
  22. Robinson Chalapud, Team Colombia, listens to Juanes (on his headphones) before the start of a race.
  23. Christian Vande Velde sat in full-kit near the start ramp for an entire ten minutes, doing nothing, barely moving, while a Stedicam Operator walked around him in concentric circles, moving his rig in and out, up and down.1
  24. 2-ply white skin suits are (still) transparent.
  25. While Martijn Keizer, Team Vacansoleil-DCM, was on course, his Director/Assistant Director (sticking out through the sunroof of a silver pace car) shouted at him the whole way up. At 3k to go the Director Dude shouted, “Only 4k to go, three minutes!!!!!” At 1.5k to go the Director Dude shouted, “Keep going, keep going, just one more sprint, just one more sprint!”
  1. Manual #21: IGNORE THE CAMERAS []