Luke Evans writes from the Giro d’Italia, where he is moto pilot for photographer Graham Watson
Strictly speaking tomorrow is the halfway point of the Giro, but for a moto driver today was the mid-point, as stage 21 is a time trial and all we do is drop the photographer off and sit around for three hours, hopefully with something to read.
Today’s stage trundled along for 181 km on rolling roads just above the ‘knee’ of Italy. The final five k’s went steeply up the climb to the historic town of Assisi. We are one of the five bikes which are allowed to continue working on this type of finale and it was good to get shots of a couple of the early attacks.
After a short descent before the last ascent into the city we could see a Sky rider (Uran) and stopped to wait for him as the road went up again. No chance. The race regulators shooed us away and it was impossible to work as the road narrowed to the width of an alleyway.
Frustrating, and now we await the Dolomites to open up the race for us to do our job in relative peace.
It feels like longer than a week and a bit since the Giro started in Denmark with a prologue and two road stages. Now we are well over halfway down the ‘boot’ of Italy, not far from Naples, some 2,000km south of the Danish coast, or Middle Earth as I will remember it.
Squat little cottages with thatched roofs nestled in the sand dunes along the North Sea coast and it would not have been a surprise if Bilbo Baggins had appeared by the roadside with a Danish flag alongside the many Giro well wishers.
Inland, many fields were ablaze with dandelions and we were never far from water, lakes and millponds. There were hills with wind turbines lazily turning, and the air was clean and cold.
Denmark felt like a hidden country perched on a high plateau, quite separate from the rest of Europe. But they welcomed the Italians and the Giro, putting pink Lycra covers on roadside posts and even painting the grass pink in one place.
We are in the routine of a stage race now, working at the back of the race in the quieter moments though still trying to get our nuts around the chaotic mountain finales with scooters everywhere and no one seemingly in charge.
I hit a discarded energy gel today. It exploded all over the bike and splattered my right foot in warm sticky goo. Quite revolting, much like running over a cane toad, I mused, as we rolled through the feed zone.