Policastro is a small coastal town, one of several in a string of towns populating the edge of a large, flat, southern-facing Mediterranean Bay. The Team buses were parked just north of Policastro in what is essentially a combination beach and marina parking lot. The start was on the access road connecting the parking lot to the main road, which main road is basically a Coast Highway, much like the PCH. We photographed the start, took a wrong turn on the way out of town, accidentally drove INTO a Castle, turned-around, found the road out of town, drove east through many tunnels on many bridges, climbed 3,000 feet, drove into a monsoon, made it to the Autostrade, got on the Austostrade, then sat/drove in on-and-off traffic for several hours. At Marinella Di S.Eufemia (165k) we made it onto the course. In Sant’Onofrio we stopped at the Caffeteria Bar Strado for cappuccinos as well as to watch the race on the TV in the corner in the ceiling above the gelato, and to accidentally converse with the locals about Nibali.
This area of Italy is a mix of ancient mountaintop and hillside-style villages, and quasi-urban Brutalist aparmtento clusters. It’s rural and bucolic, it’s also depressing and trashy, it may depend which way you’re facing or whether you’re at the bottom of a hill or on top of one.”– DWPVibo Valentia is built into the side of a nearly vertical hillside. The village is 1200 hundred feet long/high and less than a mile wide. From a distance it looks like hundreds of multi-colored lego blocks taped to a green wall. The course road switchbacks it’s way right up through the center of town from the bottom to the top past hundreds of thousands of row houses, terraced and tight. Millions of kids, grandmothers, adults, etc. crowd the street and enthuiastically watch us drive past. We are on our way to the last and larger climb, the one we thought would be better. It wasn’t, it was dark and wooded and ten maybe twelve people were out. We kept going, waiting to run out of gas in the last corner due to a slight miscalculation and general free-floating laziness – at this point we experienced acute anxiety about our situation, there was essentially no way off the course and any minute a speeding armada of motorcycles, vans, team cars, scooters, and eventually 207 professional athletes, were going to need the entire width of the road for a heavily publicized on live TV cycling event. Eventually we made it to the finish (and OFF the course) where it rained heavily and Enrico Battiglian (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) won the stage.