Sunday’s stage to Roccarasco in the Abruzzo region of central Italy was much anticipated, as it was one of the race’s real climbing stages. The climbs here are little-known. Sure, the springtime Tirreno-Adriatico race often crosses through this region. But the Apennine Mountains found here are not the high Alps or the Dolomites, where so much of the Giro’s legend has been built.
I drove ahead of the race, curious to see what the final climb to the Aremonga ski resort just above the town of Roccarasco would offer. The rain arrived just about when I did, and it was hard to get a real sense of the climb. Suddenly, however, with about four kilometers to the summit, we came out of the tree line as the road made its way along a ridge overlooking the valley.
The view was instantly impressive, and I kept climbing, hoping to find something even more spectacular. Soon after, the road dipped into a valley before making its way to the finish. Banners quickly filled the race route as well as camping cars, both of which I find an eyesore when it comes to constructing a frame.
So, I decided to return to the ridge. And I waited.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to get, really. The valley was gorgeous, but with the fog and rain, I was not even sure it would be visible once the riders arrived.
In the end though, I seemed to get a combination. The fog added a certain amount of atmosphere, but the autumn colors of Abruzzo were evident. And they provided a wonderful setting the peloton as it made its way towards the finish of a long, wet day in the Giro d’Italia.