SILANDRO SCHLANDERS / TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO
Course Overview (according to the last-minute news bulletin emailed to the press mailing list): The first 46,5km are spent descending at a mild gradient into the town of Bolzano, at which point the race begins the almost uninterrupted climb to the finish just north of the intended course over Passo Giau. The course moves upwards at a few percent gradient (punctuated by the odd ramp) for some 120km at which point (having climbed some 1300m into Cimabanche) the riders will navigate 300m in elevation down into Cortina d'Ampezzo. The remainder of the race is comprised of two sections of steep climbing—divided by a flattish section—which were part of the original stage: the first, Passo Tre Croci (8.1km, 7.1%) and the climb towards Tre Cime di Lavaredo (and the town of Auronzo di Cadore), at 7.5km and 7.5%.
- At breakfast, Klaus made fresh apple-carrot-celery from a juicer and I had yogurt with weiss blumchen honey on top.
- After checking out, on our way through the parking lot to the car, Raoul yodeled.
- On the way to the main road, past the forest-of-oddly-spaced-well-manicured-trees, we saw the two cutest cows. They looked like they had tiny wigs on their heads and they were wearing bells around their necks.
- The first four songs we heard on the radio were A.) Africa by Todo, B.) Stadt by Cassandra Steen feat. Adel Tawil C.) Get Lucky by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams D.) How You Remind Me by Nickleback.
- The map says Italy, but it feels German.
- At sign-in, while the Balocco girls wearing red velvet tights and white leggings over high-top sneakers tossed miniature sample-sized bags of cookies at the crowd, the organizers played Amami by Jovanotti.
- At 10:35am in the café bar called Café Bar proximal to the start, many elderly spectators and/or residents were drinking glasses of white or red wine.
- Just before the start, in the village of Silandro, a gang of prepubescent boys wearing pink baseball caps (an official Giro gadget) chased after our car—I saw them in the rear view mirror—as we pulled off a side street and joined the caravan/course.
- Freeway closures = forced spectating.
- Pretzels in Fake Italy (this much closer to Germany or Austria!) are over-sized and confused, as in, they weren't soft—and they weren't hard either.
- On the third climb of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the road barricaded and lined with thousands of spectators, in the car on our way up the final 2k to the finish area/parking, we stopped briefly on the 18% section to visit with a friend (Kei) on his way down from the top. We came to a complete stop. After visiting I stalled the car as we started to drive away—we got laughed at and cheered with. I made it the second time but in the process something possibly permanent happened to the car, it smells like propane and clutch. Even hours later, it smells like propane and clutch.
- It snowed for the finish, again, as if on cue.
- The Alps are cool but the Dolomites are cooler.
- The Italian Alpine Military are nostalgic and feathered and beautiful.
- A fan in a one-piece ski suit.
- Vincenzo Nibali came out of the snow alone. He was followed after a beat or two by three Colombians all lined up ONE-TWO-THREE style, each on a different team from the each other: Fabio Duarte (Team Colombia) Betancur (Team Ag2r) and Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky).1