The amazing race

I awoke to this view at nearly 1900 metres in beautiful Jafferau, close to the French border.

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Hotel Jafferau is right on the finish line of the days Giro..the race that will cover Colle Della Finestre ( that I climbed the previous day for a new ascent record), and a climb that we will do this morning from the town of Bardonecchia.

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Some views as we get our bikes ready to ride.

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We ride down the descent into the town, passing many cyclists and walkers heading up for vantage viewpoints for the Giro’s last climb and finish line. Some have camped overnight, and others are busy writing words of support for their favourite riders on the road.

 

A bunch of us go for a little extra 10 km ride directly towards the French border, passing through Melezet.

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France

Back into Bardonecchia for a quick coffee, I am keen to complete the climb sooner than later given the number of people meandering up the narrow road. On the way to a cafe, there is a cycle museum displaying some old bikes.

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Not sure my arms would be long enough…
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Check out the drive mechanism

The streets are decorated…

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Again I took no photos on the climb…it is a solid shorter climb of over 7 km.

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It is a climb where there really is no respite. The temperature is really warm at around 29-30 degrees, and I am sweating.

I plug away, again using my power meter to sit on a wattage and not over extend.

There are people who cheer and encourage, some offering cups of wine, and a sausage!

I ride over fresh paint work with the artists still painting.

I need to call out to many walkers who meander all over the place without any thought of anyone else. It is really hard when you are climbing to meander around them, hoping they won’t suddenly veer.

However my biggest shout is reserved for a bunch of male cyclists descending towards me, hogging the whole road. I call out to them but they don’t fall into line until I shout something far ruder, but universally understood! They moved then!

Back at the top there is now heavy security in place and lots of obstacles..shower, change and a group of us sit and watch the race unfold on tv.

What a race. Froome had made his solo breakaway and we were all really keen to watch him, and the other riders climb Colle Delle Finestre, particularly the dirt section.

Froome handled it better than me 😂 and it certainly seemed to have dried out a lot more in the 24 hours. Other riders slipped and slithered at times, with the Maglia Rosa Simon Yates battling.

Once Froome hit the bottom of the climb we all went to find our positions…mine being up a bank…and this was my view as he heads to the finish line 50 metres away.

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What an extraordinary rider Froome is

Quickly Froome is lost in that mass.

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Now there are a lot of people up this slippery bank. I have my feet jammed against a tree to hold me, and there is this large Colombian man adjacent. He has come just to watch the Giro. He knows all the Columbian riders by sight, and there seem to be quite a few from his cheers.

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Some of the police below me…

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Many riders have crossed the line but we wait for the Maglia Rosa, Simon Yates, out of respect as the tour was just 3 days too long for him. He has lost over 30 minutes to Froome. We all felt for him climbing Fenestre knowing he was to lost the prized GC jersey.

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Yates at the finishing line

Back to the hotel past the convoy of team cars. It was very subdued outside the Australian team car. Sad day for the Aussie team, but I guess realistically they were not surprised. Froome had to attack today, as he did with Zoncolon. Yates is young and hopefully he will get a major win in the near future with Australia’s only Giro/TDF/Vuelts team.

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Many of the riders came past on the walk back and headed to the gondola for their trip back down the ‘hill’. It was a battle for them to get to the gondola.

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Two riders at the back tying to make their way to the front

 

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Was this Froome’s mode of transport? Certainly he would not have had to ride back down or nor did he catch the gondola. So either a team car or chopper.

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Tomorrow is Cervinia…another decent climb to over 2000 metres over 28km of climbing, but not as steep as the last few climbs.

I cannot sleep and I am writing this at 3.30am! Must try a bit harder!

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