A good squeeze
Occasionally on Beardy’s Caravan, things just work. Even in Sicily.
Stage 5 was only a relatively short stage (150km), yet somehow we managed to squeeze more out of it than I thought was possible in just one day. It was like filling an amphora with just one Tarocchi sweet Sicilian blood orange. Especially as it was a stage for the sprinters (unlike stage 4), meaning the pace would be cracking.
The start was in the town of Pedara. The cobbled main street and decaying building facades made for an ideal first location.
Escaping the rat race
I had planned a manic rat run through the backstreets that would, hopefully, get us in front of the riders before they had ridden 20kms. The plan worked, Stuntman Mike was in rare form, and we now had time for another location.
The priest of Presa
We stopped in the town of Presa. It had a quaint main street with a church bell tower.
As I was lining up my shot, a boy ran over to me. He introduced himself as Stefano and started telling me about the bell tower and the sign he had put up there. He told me about how this was the first time the Giro had visited his town and how everyone, including the old folks (and even the priest) were excited about the race coming through.
I asked about getting a shot from the tower. Next thing we knew, he was calling the priest on his mobile and we were climbing an ancient spiral staircase to the bell tower. Grazie mille, Stefano!
It was a great view but I almost lost my balance when the bell chimed behind me with a deafening clang.
Carabinieri & mouse
Chasing back on, we managed to get back in front of the riders again using the Autostrade, and the Stuntman’s god-given skills. This allowed us, theoretically, to speed along to one final spot before another mad wouldn’t-be-Beardy’s-Caravan-if-we-didn’t dash to the finish.
Pulling up at Saint Margarita the Carabinieri had other ideas, wanting to put us at the end of a very long line of traffic. We parked in the queue, temporarily out of ideas. Suddenly, Mike got this strangely calm look on his face and moved ever-so quietly across to another spot in the line - before lurching forward for an insanely fast getaway. We got away with it and were soon back in the game. Lucky too, as Mike pulled up at the finish, tires smoking, with only minutes to spare. I jumped out and into photographer’s zone as if it was no big thing.
Arrivederci Sicily! Ciao boot!
A special shoutout to Luka Pibernik for the entertainment. I can only imagine what was going through his race radio as he celebrated his pre-final lap win. At least his parents have a photo for the pool room…