pro cycling

Giro d’Italia 2019 Stage 5: California Dreamin’

American musician Tom Lehrer once observed that “the weather always looks worse through a window.”  I would add that it can also look pretty bad when viewed through a TV screen. Whether Lehrer was a pro cycling fan is a moot point.

Any scenery today, on the stage between Frascati and Terracina, was lost behind a misty mizzle. Grim expressions were worn. Riders aquaplaned and moto headlights reflected back dramatically off the road.

I can only image the levels of shadenfreude being felt across the Atlantic, from teammates currently riding the Tour of California, where the sun is shining and the skies are blue.

[Insert generic ‘California Dreamin’ joke here]

I hear the hotels are nice too.

If you’re going to withdraw from the Giro with a (no doubt genuine) knee injury, as Tom Dumoulin did in the opening kilometres, then today would definitely be the day.

The finish was to feature two laps of Terracina, but the desperate conditions convinced the organisers to neutralise the race after lap one. All time gaps were taken at that point leaving the sprinters to attack the final lap for the stage win.

Well, I say attack. They tiptoed for much of it. Desperate to stay upright. Negotiating standing water and spray. Wishing they’d had chance to exchange their skinsuits for team issue wetsuits.

Whoever won today would get extra points for bravery.

Embed from Getty Images


It was a nervous, twitchy run in. The likes of Viviani, Ackermann and Gaviria picked their way from wheel to wheel, threading their way between great ponds of standing water, evading water fowl and wary of strong currents.

And then, for the finale, the Colombian Gaviria broke cover and burst for the line. Pedalling, paddling, and cranking his outboard motor.

But, it appears, we have a new star.

Pascal Ackermann, winner of stage two and flagged as a pre-race also ran, took Gaviria’s wheel, nudged past, and took it.

Celebrations were wild.

Hugs were received and backs were slapped.

A second Grand Tour stage win for the young German. A career launched. Nowhere else he’d rather be.

3 comments on “Giro d’Italia 2019 Stage 5: California Dreamin’

  1. Did you know that the name “Ackermann” is used for jokes in Germany?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, i didn’t…why?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have no idea. When I lived in Germany, there were several jokes with a guy who does stupid things all the time, but also is a kind of celebrity that everyone knows. This is “Ackermann”. I guess that it is something like an “ordinary Joe” in the country. Ackemann means the man from the field.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: