Sheree brings us her photo diary from her trip to the last day of this year’s epic Giro.
I was at the last day of the Tour de France last year in Paris so this year I thought: why not go to the last day of the Giro d’Italia in Brescia? I was accompanied by my in-house photographer who struck out – stood in the wrong place – but not my friend Nathalie Novembrini who, fortunately for me, managed to bag a number of photographs to help me convey the party atmosphere on the last day of what we’ll long remember as an epic Giro.
Early birds catch the worms
Any self-respecting cycling fan will tell you that you need to arrive early, scout out possible locations, bag your spot and stay there. We were early enough to catch the last-minute preparations for the finish of the final stage which capped a thoroughly engrossing three weeks of racing.
Are you ready to party?
The town of Brescia used the Grande Arrivo as an excuse to party all weekend – and why not? – and everyone joined in: from shops festooned in pink, the pink-painted refuse bins, dogs sporting pink collars, to spectators decked out in every shade of rose.
Ready and waiting for the action to start
We were conflicted. Did we take up residence at the finish or close to the podium? The two were some way apart and the estimated crowd of 300,000 would mitigate against moving easily from one to the other. In the end we opted for the podium and had a pretty reasonable spot within easy sight of it – until they moved the barriers! But we could still see the big screen and part of the circuit – small mercies.
Here they come on the first of seven laps of a 4.2km circuit to the cheers of the awaiting crowds.
To the winner the spoils
All too soon the stage and the Giro are over for another year and then comes the moment we were all waiting for: Vincenzo Nibali’s coronation, the first Italian rider from southern Italy to win the Giro and the first Sicilian. Fittingly the organisers had provided him with a throne, a magnificent trophy and a cake!
But first the riders have to weave their way from the finish to the podium.
Let the prize-giving commence. I love it when they hand out prizes for spending the most time in the breakaways, best kit, most elegant rider, best haircut. Okay, so I made up a few of those categories, but we’re in Italy, it would be fitting, no?
Those girls should have been fitted with safety goggles, that kit’s blinding. Call Health & Safety now!
Is it my imagination or has one of the Sky team shrunk? I blame all that rain!
Astana’s kit provider produced pink shirts with a turquoise shark on them for the final day for the all team support staff, the Kazakh film crew, Astana fans and anyone else who could blag one. You did save me one, didn’t you?
After the podium ceremony there were interviews with the various television channels, doping control, meet-and-greet with family and friends, an appearance on RAI TV’s post-stage show with Alessandra De Stefano, the press conference and finally at 20:40 Nibali emerged looking a wee bit weary and got into the waiting Astana car to be driven back to the team hotel for the post-Giro celebration party with fireworks.
If you’re wondering which last day is better, the Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia, I honestly can’t decide: it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other!