Reflections on Napoli - Half-way through the Giro

Topbike's Dave Olle and Betty waiting for the train

May 20 2015 - Richie Port half-way in the Giro d'Italia

The Giro is halfway through today, and while we'd love to see Richie Porte succeed, it's goiing to be tough for him, losing a minute today, and with the likes of Aru and Contador working him over.

It is reminiscent of the '07 Tour, when Contador and Rassmussen (before he was ejected) conspired to work against Cadel. It's hard to respect convicted drug cheats like Contador, but at least we know that if he has to defend the Pink leader's jersey all the way to Milano, he'll be well challenged to get back up to full strength again in July.

Napoli - Reflections from 2013

Here's a story I wrote for the start of the Giro a couple of years back. It never made it into print, but I reckon it's worth another run here.

The Giro starts this Saturday, in Napoli, 28th April 2013

I love sporting heckles, whether they be cutting, or just plain clever. Some of my favourites go back years. The ‘Coodabeens’ on ABC radio brought a ripper AFL one to air in ’92. It was just after the Rodney King trial in LA. I don’t know which game it was, but it came from some random scallywag in the outer, after a particularly bad onfield decision. ‘Hey Ump, they want you for jury duty. In Los Angeles.’

International soccer matches can bring out the best. Over the years, when Holland plays Germany, the original chant was ‘Bring my mother’s bike back’. As after WW2, apparently many of the German infantry made their way home on ‘borrowed’ bikes. This is now a generational chant, as it has become ‘Bring my grandmother’s bike back’.

This Saturday the Giro starts in Napoli, for the first time. I love Napoli, but it is wild and anarchic. Driving is a sport. A friend of mine from Modena always says ‘in Napoli, a red light is just an opinion’. Car theft is so problematic, that they have developed a style of steering locks I’ve witnessed nowhere else. Looking somewhat like a Ned Kelly accessory, it takes almost two people to lift them into place. It’s the home of pizza, along with many other fantastic foods, and rubbish on the streets. And rubbish on the streets, and rubbish on the streets.

On the public buses no one buys a ticket, preferring to all ride standing, by the central exit door. At a stop, if a ticket inspector gets on, the cry goes up, and everyone alights. A mate of mine, at Uni in Napoli, was riding the bus once, without a ticket of course. The bus stopped, the cry went up, but my mate was too tired to react, choosing to suffer the consequences of remaining seated. The ticket inspector was incredulous, and furious, as he remonstrated ‘No ticket? Why didn’t you just get off like everyone else?’

Of the Italian heckle, my one is unusual, in that most italian ‘politically incorrect’ jokes use the people from Abruzzo as the butt (like we use Tasmania). My favourite, used as the last word in an exchange, maybe uttered under your breath, or to someone’s back, as they walk away:
‘Ah, your grandmother’s from Napoli’. It amuses me.

I’ve written a full Giro preview that is published in the current issue of Bicycling Australia. If you want incisive, erudite and intuitive analysis of the Giro, you could go and look for it there, ‘cause you won’t get it here. (I know you all just read this for the ‘Cucinare Report’ or to see a photo of Betty).

In closing, if you do get frustrated with an Italian rider during this year’s Giro. Like when Paolo Bettini put ‘our Baden’ into the barriers in a sprint finish in 2005, or last year when Ferrari took out Black Cavendish’s front wheel with a sprint line designed by spirograph, and you feel like yelling at the Teev ‘Ah, your grandmother’s from Napoli’ just don’t do it on day one. You could be insulting the entire crowd.

Around the ragged rocks the ragged rascals rode.  David Scully and Vincent Duffus - Tour of Corsica.

Downtime Report

We're having a little 'in between tour quiet time' at present, which allowed Betty and I time to catch the train down to Brescia on Sunday (see photo above), to see the historic cars arrive for the end of the Mille Miglia. Have to report that there were no Pink Giro Fiat 125s involved

Photos Above:

Waiting for the train and Around the ragged rocks the ragged rascals rode - David Scully and Vincent Duffus at theTour of Corsica.

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