Giro d'Italia

Getting the shot at the 2020 Giro d’Italia: The maglia rosa against the blue Adriatic

Photojournalist James Startt spent much of Saturday searching for the proper angle to capture the Giro d'Italia peloton against the blue Adriatic Sea.

Member Exclusive

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Start Free Trial

Already a member?

Sign In

At the onset of Saturday’s eighth stage of the Giro d’Italia, I had no real game plan when it came to photography. The stage itself was not super demanding, but it it did skirt along the Adriatic Sea. So,I was hopeful that there would be some opportunities to get a classic shot of the peloton cruising along the seaside. And hey, the sun was shining!

As I drove along the race route, I failed to find what I was looking for in the first 100 kilometers, as views of the sea always seemed to be cluttered with trees, streetlights, you name it. In short, I wasn’t finding the love.

But then, nearing the half-way mark, the route turned left and started making its way up the day’s big climb, the Monte Sant’Angelo. There were some nice hairpin turns and steep ramps on the road up, but too often the sea appeared too far off in the distance. And after stopping twice and climbing some rock walls, I opted to try my luck on the descent.

Cresting the summit, I could tell that the descent was even more rustic, and as we came down, the Adriatic Sea would pop in and out of view. I knew now that it was only a matter of time before I found my shot. Stopping several times, I finally found this spot, which seemed to offer the clearest view of the sea. And better yet, there were no telephone lines or traffic signs.

Once again climbing up a rock face, I managed to find a position that offered the best plunging perspective, and some semi-solid footing. Playing with several focal lengths, I finally opted for a standard 50mm lens. You can’t get more classic than that really. But it works, and today it offered the best solution.

I tested it first on the day’s breakaway as they passed. And then waited for the lead pack. And when Joao Almeida came into view with his distinctive maglia rosa as the race leader, I knew that would be the shot., as the distinctive pink would contrast nicely with the deep blues of the sea. And on that score, I wasn’t disappointed.