After a fast-paced stage 1 extravaganza (3 spots and a finish) to celebrate the opening of the 100th Giro d’Italia, we took it a little easier for stage 2. And so, after bagging a shot of the Maglia Rosa at sign-on, we set course for the quaint little land-locked municipality of Bitti (insert Little Britain reference here).
After some local lads helped push the car backwards up a rocky farm road to get it out of the way of the riders (that we thought would soon be flying past) it was time for a picnic. Yesterday’s lunch consisted of two packets of grissini and I had promised Mike that today we would do better.
With that in mind we had stopped in at the local store on our way to sign-on, picking up a selection of focaccias (still warm from the oven) and slices of San Daniele prosciutto. It was heaven. We swiftly decided that today was going to set the precedent for future lunches on the Caravan.
As I sat amongst the lavender bushes, munching on a crisp pear and sipping frizzante, I felt sorry for the riders slogging it out into a 50kph headwind. No wonder they were taking so long to arrive.
All it took to undo our otherwise relaxing day was a strategic road block in the next town we tried to pass through. After some rather vigorous use of the horn, we executed a 300-point turn before charting a zig-zagging route back the way we came. A few deep breaths and soothing mantras later, and we were back on track.
A calculated risk
The biggest climb of the Giro so far also happened to be the most scenic - but a little close to the end of the stage for comfort. I decided it was worth the risk and set up in what must have been a contender for the windiest place in all of Sardinia. The riders couldn't arrive soon enough as my cap and sunglasses kept getting blown off my head.
The little Fiat that almost could
Regular readers of the Caravan will know that, when it comes to making it to the finish line, I've cut it fine plenty of times. Today was going to be up there with the best.
As we rushed to the stage 2 finish in Tortolì there was a glimmer of hope - we were in tight aero formation behind two team cars, who were setting a blistering tempo. The driver of the 2nd car kept checking in his mirror to see if they had managed to shake us off, but our determined little Fiat just wouldn't budge. They took us all the way into town, glued to their bumper.
It wasn’t to be. Beardy's Caravan is no fairytale and, even after some Colin McRae-like driving from Stuntman Mike, we still missed the finish. On the upside, we managed to make it in time to catch the Gorilla, André Greipel, spraying prosecco in what would be his first Maglia Rosa after 7 Giro stage wins.