Giro d'Italia

Getting the shot: The Giro d’Italia peloton in Catania

Sometimes the best-laid plans seemingly evaporate in what could well be a volcano’s steam and smoke.

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Sometimes you really don’t know what you are going to come up with. And when it comes to preparing a photograph, well, sometimes the best-laid plans seemingly evaporate in what could well be a volcano’s steam and smoke.

And today that could never be more true.

The start of stage four in this year’s Giro d’Italia started in downtown Catania, under the shadows of Mount Etna. I know the town well and have visited on several occasions, I knew that when the peloton rolled out of town along the Via Etnea, there was tremendous potential for a shot of the peloton under with the volcano as the backdrop.

With the help of some local friends, we even managed to locate a hotel with a much-sought-after view. Arriving early at the start, I went straight to the UNA Palace Hotel. And the staff was kind enough to offer us the use of an empty room with a balcony over the avenue. How good does it get?

The only problem was that once on the balcony it became clear that cloud cover over the volcano was thickening. And to make matters worse, the streets below were empty, yet another result of COVID restrictions I estimated.

Remaining hopeful, I told them I would return just before the start, hoping that the clouds would burn off, and I made my way to the sign-in podium.

But when I returned and went back up, my fortunes only seemed to get worse as the volcano was simply invisible under the clouds.

Disappointed, I considered leaving. But as the peloton made its way up the Via Etnea I started seeing other possibilities. For while, my view of the volcano had evaporated, the crowds had suddenly rolled in, collectively embracing the peloton as it made its way out of town. And as I fired away I quickly understood that this would be my shot of the day.