pro cycling

Giro d’Italia 2018 Stage 10: revenge of the priest stranglers


For Stage 10 of this year’s Giro the organisers pulled out all the stops.

Full culture. Maximum history.

They even threw some pasta in to the mix.

The stage began in Penne; a beautiful and ancient town – one of 2012’s most beautiful towns in Italy, no less – with a history going back to the mid-neolithic period. It’s beautiful. And picturesque. And a lovely place to start a bike race.

Mid-neolithic, history fans, is a long time ago.

It predates all the other “eras” that you may be familiar with: the EPO era, the Indurain years, Bernard Hinault’s eleven-year war (1975-1986)

We’re talking pre-Coppi, here.

And to cap it off it shares its name with a pasta: the tube-y one that you get in the supermarket.

Regular readers may now be expecting a series of cheap gags on this topic. It’s true that I never normally shy away from hanging a whimsical five-hundred word blog post on a flimsy joke. But i’m going to resist.

I’m trying to be high-brow.

If we were in a town called Strozzapreti things might be different – my Strozzapreti banter is world class. I always say that if a blogger can’t riff on a style of pasta known as the “priest strangler” then they’re in the wrong business.

Alas, there is no town called Strozzapreti.

Whatever pasta the riders favour they’d have been wise to carb load, though, with today being the longest stage of the race (at a calorie consuming 244km’s).

Wending out of the region of Abruzzo, and into Umbria, up hill and down dale (or whatever the Italian translation is: su collina e valle giù, perhaps?), to finish in another achingly, painfully, unfeasibly beautiful and historic town: Gualdo Tadino.

(Italy are clearly trolling Israel. In your FACE, Tel Aviv!)

As for the racing?

You remember when I put my mortgage on Elia Viviani the other day and I ended up homeless? Well, today I decided predictions were out of the window, and that proved to be a wise decision.

Embed from Getty Images

The big news of the day revolved around Esteban Chaves and the disappearance of that trademarked smile. He lost twenty-five minutes – yep, you heard it – on the leaders, struggling badly on the very early, very big climb of the day.

And the reason?

Pollen allergies?

Bad legs?

Hmmm, maybe. Or perhaps just not enough “priest stranglers” for breakfast?

Whatever, Mitchelton Scott are now a one horse town – where the horse, of course, is Simon Yates, and the town is, erm…the team. But what a magnificent horse he is. All tiny, and pink.

This isn’t working.

My attempts at high brow have led me down the blind alley of a clunky horse analogy. I should’ve stuck to the cheap pasta gags.

Embed from Getty Images

The stage winner, for anyone still reading, was Matej Mohoric of Bahrain Merida, he of the super aero position and the look of a baby-faced assassin. He broke away in the final kilometres and dealt with the challenge of Nico Denz of AG2R with disdain.

Tomorrow, the race begins in Assisi.

Strap yourself in for a steady stream of St Francis references.


(Top Image: Gualdo Tadino by Marco Gubbini – Own work, Public Domain,

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