After a relaxing rest day, today’s stage started in Civitanova, a stone’s throw from where we were staying. The sun was out early and it would be hot all day.
As I sat sipping my morning cappuccino, I watched as people ate their cornettos - standing at the bar, crumbs falling to the floor. There was a dog lying below his owner’s feet, who would hungrily jump out and lick up the pastry flakes. I couldn't help but appreciate the simplicity of the system; the floor got cleaned, the dog got fed - everyone was happy.
I caught the riders as they headed over to sign-in. It seemed everyone was keen to get moving again after the rest day.
The town was packed – no one was at work while the Giro was in town.
After the last of the riders rolled out, we headed to the half-way point of the 200km stage and a town called Fano (which we had researched on the rest day). The town had a fortified city wall that the riders would ride straight past, hopefully making for a nice shot.
We arrived 30 mins before the race was scheduled to roll through and the town was already starting to get busy. I was attempting to setup in the middle of a roundabout directly outside the city wall, by standing on the edge of the planter box, when the local Polizia stopped me. I quickly looked around for an alternate location.
The crowd continued to swell and edge closer to the road. By the time the riders came whizzing past, half the road was full of people. Trying to get a better angle I had my face pressed hard against the boiling hot road, looking up towards the castle-like turret of the city wall.
Happy with the shot if was off to the finish.
Arriving early at the end of a stage is always a bonus because you can snag a prime position in the long line of photographers huddled on both sides of the road. I grabbed a great spot and was ready to shoot.
As I was setting up, I heard Richie Porte’s name being mentioned repeatedly over the Italian TV coverage. I used my lens to zoom in on the screen at the end of the straight – I could see Porte separated from the peloton and chasing to get back on.
Thinking little of it, I quickly swung back around to catch the all-Italian breakaway sprinting up the straight. Click, click, click – I capture Nicola Boem’s ecstatic celebration as he crosses the line.
I found myself counting the seconds until Richie rolled in. It didn’t seem like a lot, but enough to upset the general classification.
I rushed to capture a few images of the riders before they were whisked away in their team buses.
It was not until after dinner I learned about the wheel change and the 2 minute time penalty. A penalty that seems to fly in the face of good sportsmanship – a quality that would normally be admired and celebrated.
It takes 3 weeks of exceptional riding to win a grand tour but only minutes of disaster to lose one. Fingers crossed this isn’t the end of Richie’s GC aspirations.
See beardy’s coverage of previous stages below.