News and Photos

Day 8    7th Sept

Alba /Bobbio

It is mildly reassuring knowing that the Italian weather forecasts are indeed as unreliable as everyone else’s. Yesterday’s forecasted thunderstorms actually melted away to become baking sunshine. Having said that, not all turned out quite as expected.

Distance: 155.8km Climb: 2,683m

mhealth Grand Tour 2014

30th August to 15th September. Barcelona to Vienna. 2300km ride, 33000m of climb.

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Below and right, photos taken of the team enjoying a break and a slurp of great Italian coffee.  Mombaruzzo (near to the first feed stop) is actually home to the first Amaretti!

Come the afternoon and the worst part of the climbing had begun. Some struggled to grind up the steep gradients, others just gave up, got off and walked. At least one even had to take their shoes off to get up the slope (cleats on shoes don’t make for easy walking!) Thankfully everyone finally got back in. Well done guys.

Below is a photo of Shahzad who had just gotten to the to top of one of his steepest ever climbs. Image right, #Ironmonkey stops to re-fuel his taxi driver and image below right, the riders try out a different mode of transport! This leg of the tour finished just short of Bobbio, which has the claim to fame that the hunchback bridge (a Devil’s Bridge) leading into the town is the one featured behind the Mona Lisa. (We’ll check that out tomorrow)

Stage Breakdown         Day     1    2    3    4    5    Rest1    6    7    8    9    10    Rest2    11    12    13    14    15

The team have now reached their halfway point on the tour. They have: travelled over 1300km; climbed 15000m; gotten over 3 Hors category climbs and cycled across three countries.

After predicting this to be a relatively straightforward ride, day 8 turned out to be a day of two halves. At first the team made speedy progress with some good flat riding. On the second half of the day however the team were faced with taxing climbs - not a problem for seasoned riders you may say (after all the team conquered Mont Ventoux!) Unfortunately however for these climbs, crampons would have been more useful than a bike, with gradients of 16% and more to tackle!

The team enjoyed breathtaking scenery (above). Hugh Anderson managed to stop en-route to snap the fortress at Gavi (image below left). The fortress was turned into a penitentiary; during World War II it was used as a POW camp - a "bad boys" prison for those who attempted escape from other camps.

Image below middle Rob Woolfson is ravenous! and below right the TeamBG mascot #ironmonkey rides in comfort.