Archive for May 30th, 2021

PEZ Picks 4 Great GIRO NEGRONI Bars

05/30/2021 12:02
negroni

The best negroni bars in Italy are often discovered by accident, or when you least expect it. Early on in my 17 year career chasing the modern Giro d’Italia I began logging the best negronis, bars, and ristoranti as my travels took me to all corners of Italy. Here are 4 of the best negroni bars, places to eat and stay at the Giro.

# The ‘Pez’ looks back at his trip to the 2019 Giro d’Italia. #

Stage 1: Bologna – San Luca TT
The opening stage of the Giro d’Italia is an 8.2km individual time trial from the very center of Bologna to the top of the San Luca climb.  This is handy because the adjacent Piazza Maggiore is also an excellent place to sip a celebratory negroni – before, during, or after the stage.  I’ve stopped here a few times in my travels and always favour a seat at one of the big cafes under the porticos, casting a lazy eye at the tourists, locals, and persons of questionable immigration selling the fake designer handbags.

Also handy is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Italy the famous Ristorante Donatello –  just a short walk away along the main shopping street – via dell’Independenza.

And of course you’re having the Bolognese – they offer a variety of dishes prepared with the famous ragu-style sauce – and it’s delicious.  The space is a beautiful room with soaring fresco’ed ceilings, and the expansive walls are literally postered with framed photos of Italian and international celebrities who’ve dined there over the past 100+ years.

The capo is named Ferruccio – a silver haired fox who still has the kavorka, and keeps a cool eye on the room, no matter how packed it is.  On my last visit, I ate only half my plate of pasta, needing to save room for the next course – a succulent tagliatta grilled with rosemary and pepper.  The capo spotted my half eaten plate from the other side of the room and promptly made his way to my table to enquire what was wrong with it.  He seemed satisfied with my explanation, and I liked his genuine concern.

Stage 6: Cassino – San Giovanni Rotondo
It’s a 233km crossing of the boot from west to east, passing through the valleys of the Appenine mountains, by “cowboy town” (according to Alessandro) of Foggia, to the hilltop finish in the centre of the Gargano peninsula.  This will be a stage either for the breakaway, or a rider like Sagan, or Valverde (or both).  The region though, is largely unknown outside of Italy, which is a shame because the lush green hills, flat sandy beaches and shimmering Adriatic Sea make it one of the the most beautiful parts to visit, and enjoy a negroni.

The economy here is mostly tourism, and the number of beach hotels confirm it’s a popular place for summer crowds, and you can expect it to be packed in the summer months when all of Italy closes up shop and heads to the beach.   But the overall lack of industry, and people, means the roads are quiet, and life moves a bit slower out here.

I was in nearby Peschici for a stage finish in 2008, and distinctly remember filing my report early enough that I actually had time to stroll around the medieval town, and settle into the main piazza for this well deserved negroni.

After an apertivo, you’ll be dining on freshly caught seafood, accompanied by a cool bottle of Puglian vino bianco  – I went with the mixed grill at a local ristorante – called Ciccio a Mare . ‘Ciccio’ is short for Francesco, who owns it, and it’s worth a visit.

Things quiet down pretty early over here, but the longer days of May and warm temps are perfect for an evening stroll to enjoy the scents and sounds of the seaside.

Stage 12: Cuneo – Pinerolo – Bring On the Alps
Both towns are popular stops for the Giro as connectors between the Ligurian Coast / Lombard Plains and the Alps.  I’ve been through them a few times and the majesty of the snow-capped Alps in the distance is breathtaking.  Their sheer size and elevation elicits pangs of excitement of what lays ahead on the huge climbs, and fast changing weather in May is always an wild card.  My first visit in 1994 was in a blizzard atop Sestriere – it was so bad the tv coverage was cancelled because the planes couldn’t fly.


The alps looming beyond Cuneo both invite, and menace riders.

The 2019 stage is short at just 146km, with one medium climb near the end – the Montoso that averages almost 10% over 9km –  that could play well for an escape or the breakaway, but the GC boys will be saving their legs for the big climbing stage of 13 & 14 to follow.

Both towns have lovely main piazzas with portico’d promenades, and plenty of options for sipping the orange elixir.

We all know Italian pizza has no equal, and one of my must haves is the pizza con bressaola – cured ham, arugula, and shaved parmesan – perfect for lunch – on or after the ride.   

The ochre-tiled roofs of Pinerolo offer a warm haven from the chill of the high Alps just a few kms away.  Here’s a perfect base camp for big rides over Sestriere and the Colle della Finestre, and France is just over those snowy peaks – the Izoard, Galibier, and more.

Stage 21: Verona – Bringin’ It Home
The final 15.6km individual time trial in Verona will be a scenic capper to the race and a tough final week in the Dolomites, and many will prefer the historic beauty of the ancient Roman colosseum as to Milan’s Duomo as a fitting venue to close the race.

One of my favorite stages to cover of all time was the 2010 Giro finish right here.  It was also an ITT, but that year they funnelled riders right inside the colosseum just after the finish line.  I covered the finish from back stage, and watching the riders finally let go of three week’s of tension and work uncovered a rarely seen side of the Grand Tour.

Those bars and cafes overlooking the piazza are ideal for a negroni.  Sure they’re a little pricey, but you’re paying for the location and the very cool Veronese vibe.

As beautiful as Verona is, you’ll want to stay at the even more awesome Garda Bike Hotel just 20kms away on Lake Garda.  I’ve stayed here many times – including hosting the PEZ Crew for our 10th Anniversary back in 2012.  Brothers Nicola & Alberto run the best bike hotel in the region, and personally guide rides through the area that offers everything form flat to hilly to big climbs, to wine rides.

The Garda Bike Hotel also has an excellent restaurant, but ask them where the best cottoletta is and they’ll send you back into Verona to a place only the locals know.  The lightly breaded and fried chicken or pork cutlet is pretty much a meal in itself.

Of course this just scratches the surface as a true guide to finding the best negronis in Italy, but I hope it serves a a decent start. And if you find or know of a place or bar we should check out – let us know!

Thanks for reading – and “cincin”
– Pez

The post PEZ Picks 4 Great GIRO NEGRONI Bars appeared first on PezCycling News.


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GIRO’21 Stage 20: Grand Caruso Attacks for the Stage, Bernal Safe in Pink

05/30/2021 0:03
giro21st20

Giro d’Italia Stage 20: With a very brave attack, second overall Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) won stage 20, the last mountain stage of the 2021 Giro d’Italia. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) finished second on the stage to guarantee his final overall win, barring accidents, after Sunday’s final time trial.

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Bold move by Damiano Caruso

Damiano Caruso won Stage 20 of the 104th Giro d’Italia, 164km from Verbania to Valle Spluga-Alpe Motta. Egan Bernal and Daniel Felipe Martinez finished second and third, respectively. Bernal retains the Maglia Rosa and leads the general classification going into the final time trial.

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The starting town of Verbania, also the home town of Filippo Ganna. He greets his dog after more than 3 weeks of absence

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Giro stage 20 route: A colossal Alpine stage, crossing over to Switzerland. After the start, the route passes the Swiss border to negotiate the never-ending San Bernardino Pass (24 km), clearing the summit above 2,000 metres. After the descent, the riders will rise again to over 2,000 metres, to negotiate the Splügen Pass. A technical descent (passing through a few tunnels and an avalanche gallery) will lead all the way to the foot of the closing climb in Campodolcino. The ramps are steep over the last 7 km. Past Campodolcino, the route ascends in hairpins, through a number of tunnels, up to Pianazzo, travelling the old, narrow road to Madesimo, with punishing gradients. After a relatively flat stretch in Madesimo, the route rises again with gradients nearing 10% over the last kilometres. The home straight is on tarmac road and on a slight incline.

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Nice start of the day for Qhubeka Assos

From the start of the stage many riders tried to slip into the early break. For Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange), it would be tactically a good move to have a rider up front, but they failed. After 30 kilometres nine riders managed to escape the peloton.

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What can Simon Yates do today?

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Over 2 minutes in hand for Egan Bernal, is it enough?

Dries De Bondt, Louis Vervaeke, Taco van der Hoorn, Simon Pellaud, Giovanni Visconti, Felix Grosschartner, Vincenzo Albanese, Nico Denz and Matteo Jorgenson completed the break of the day. In the flat run-up to the Passo San Girardino, they managed to take a gap of 5 minutes. Surprisingly, Trek-Segafredo took charge of the chase. Did they have plans for Bauke Mollema and Vincenzo Nibali?

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Maglia Rosa – Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers), Maglia Ciclamino – Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), Maglia Azzurra – Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën), Maglia Bianca – Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers), worn by Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech)

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The last mountains from Verbania and into Switzerland

The early escape exploded on the Passo San Girardino. For Vervaeke and Grosschartner it was too slow at the foot of the climb, and they decided to attack together, they were joined by Albanese, Pellaud and Visconti. With a lead of just 1 minute, they crossed the top of the Cat 1 climb. It wasn’t only Trek-Segafredo who were responsible for the time loss, but also BikeExchange and DSM. Something was going to happen in the last 60 kilometres.

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The peloton on the sores of Lake Maggiore

On the descent Chris Hamilton, Michael Storer and Romain Bardet (all DSM) split from the peloton in pursuit of the leaders, followed by Pello Bilbao and Caruso. When the lead was at 20 seconds on the peloton, Caruso, Bardet and Co. caught the leaders.

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Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani CSF Faizanè) made it into the break

On the way to the Splügen Pass, Storer, Hamilton and Bilbao worked hard for their leaders to get them to the climb in the best time and as fresh as possible. There was no reason to panic for Bernal and Yates for the time being as Caruso only had 20 seconds.

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It didn’t take long for the break to a get a gap, but it was never a big one

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The break on the way to Switzerland

Thanks to the work of Vervaeke, who was then dropped, the lead on the penultimate climb grew to 50 seconds. The four remaining leaders started the 20 kilometre descent to Alpe Motta. In the peloton Aleksandr Vlasov couldn’t stop himself on the descent and with an attack, the Astana-Premier Tech rider had a 10 second lead and split the favourites group apart. INEOS Grenadiers quickly brought the Russian back and continued to chase the GC riders at the front.

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Milka?

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Louis Vervaeke (Alpecin-Fenix) was the best placed rider in the break at 55:31

Thanks to Jonathan Castroviejo on the descent and Daniel Felipe Martinez on the final climb, the lead of Caruso and Bardet didn’t grow. After Storer and Bilbao had done all they could and Bardet and Caruso had to do it all by themselves, the lead started to shrink again.

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BikeExchange on the front

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DSM setting it up for the finalé

In the final kilometres it was clear that Bernal’s pink jersey was never really in danger. Caruso and Bardet could only fight for the stage victory with 20 seconds in hand with 2 kilometres to go.

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DSM made the break with Bardet and Caruso

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Bilbao rode hard for Caruso

Because of Martinez’s fast pace, no one could attack from the chase group. Yates and Almeida couldn’t hang on to Martinez and Bernal a kilometre from the top.

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Jonathan Castroviejo another day’s work for Egan Bernal

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Bardet cracked

At the front, Caruso was giving it all he had. After he dropped Bardet, his lead grew again over the two Colombians. He crowned his second overall place with a fine stage victory in Alpe Motta. Bernal and Martinez came in about half a minute after the Italian .

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Eventually Caruso went solo on the final climb

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Egan Bernal had perfect team support and was always in control

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious): “I thought about a thousand things in the last meters before the finish line, all my sacrifices, my training, and all the work done by my teammates. We rode in an exemplary way today, Pello Bilbao in particular did an incredible job and he played a fundamental role in this victory. Today I realised a dream, I think I am the happiest man in the world!”

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Stage win for Caruso, but not enough time to change the overall

Maglia Rosa and 2nd on the stage, Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers): “Today we rode very well as a team, we controlled the race in the best possible way. My teammates did a super job, a special thanks to Jonathan Castroviejo. I had good legs and I knew I had teammates around me but when Caruso attacked, with his advantage increasing, I admit I was worried. Now I am confident for tomorrow’s last stage, I have a two minute lead in the GC and I will give everything in the time trial.”

 

Giro d’Italia Stage 20 Result:
1. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious in 4:27:53
2. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:24
3. Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:35
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM
5. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:41
6. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 0:51
7. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:13
8. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 1:29
9. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) eolo-Kometa at 2:07
10. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 2:23
11. Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
12. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 2:37
13. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
14. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation at 3:10
15. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 3:42
16. Vadim Pronskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
17. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 4:08
18. Einer Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar at 4:10
19. Harold Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana-Premier Tech at 4:44
20. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 5:29
21. Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) BikeExchange at 6:01
22. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 6:25
23. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar at 6:41
24. Michael Storer (Aus) DSM at 6:46
25. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ at 6:50.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 20:
1. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers in 85:41:47
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 1:59
3. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 3:23
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 7:07
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 7:48
6. Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 7:56
7. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 8:22
8. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 8:50
9. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 12:39
10. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 16:48
11. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 24:55
12. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 31:04
13. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 36:11
14. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) eolo-Kometa at 44:09
15. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ at 44:51
16. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 47:24
17. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 57:02
18. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:03:27
19. Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:03:29
20. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:03:54
21. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 1:05:25
22. Tanel Kangert (Est) BikeExchange at 1:05:57
23. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:18:12
24. Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) BikeExchange at 1:18:20
25. Gianni Moscon (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:19:26.

The post GIRO’21 Stage 20: Grand Caruso Attacks for the Stage, Bernal Safe in Pink appeared first on PezCycling News.


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