Sunday, May 23, 2010

Stage 15: Up to Monte Zoncolan

So I was wrong-yesterday's stage was Stage 14, and today's, a brutal uphill dramatic stage, is 15. There is the face of the Smiling Assassin, Ivan Basso. Always liked that guy, but it's a bummer to watch our Hobbit Cadel Evans is cracking on Monte Zoncolan, which has an average grade of Ouch! Go, Hobbit, Go! What an awesome stage! Basso looks good, and Liquigas is on fire!

So here we leave the Veneto and enter the fascinating region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, where they are strongly influenced by Austrian and Yugoslavian culture. Here you can eat wurst and strudel, as well as polenta--the poor family's savior. Up here they are famous for pig butchery. They slaughter the pig with a ritual, and use every part of it. And let me tell you, every part is yummy! They eat a soup called Yota, made with beans and pork and saurkraut. Sounds good to me right now.

Look at the crowd! The mountain is blanketed with people! Look at the alpini hats! The crowd is just nuts! The Alpini troops are protecting the route!

Oh, and drink the Ribolla Gialla vino—a white single varietal they have been growing up here since the 12th century.

What a finish!

Tomorrow a rest day, and then on Tuesday, a mountain time trial!

Viva il Giro! Viva Italia!

A martedì!

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