Today we got an early start for the longest stage of this year's event - 264kms (or 8 hours in the saddle), with a touch of rain.
The first town we shot in was Montalto di Castro, which was full of people in the street and pink roses growing almost everywhere. As with most of the towns we have visited so far, the locals were really friendly and happy to chat. I got talking to a policeman who had a friend that owned a cafe in Leichhardt.
The wind picked up strongly as the breakaway approached – blowing dusty debris around the town square. Breakaway rider Marco Bandiera was wearing number 13 upside down to ward off bad luck.
We got back in the car and headed towards the next town, Monterotondo (not far outside Rome). It was a long drive, so we stopped at a local service station for the strongest coffee I can remember. There seemed to be a lot of people just standing around, eating panini and drinking espresso. My kind of service station.
Arriving in Monterotondo we were greeted by busy streets and a brass band.
As the main bunch rolled through, Tinkoff-Saxo was on the front. Contador was looking uncomfortable after dislocating his shoulder the day before.
We rushed to make the finish, but got stuck in 4.30pm Friday traffic on the Rome ring road. To make matters worse, we made a wrong turn after our GPS played up again.
Pulling up to the end of the stage, I jumped out of the car and ran to try and capture the finish. I didn’t make it.
The tally so far to bring you this story:
1500kms in the car
3 tanks of diesel
130 GBs of images
8 packets of grissini
See beardy’s coverage of previous stages below.