Where are we?: Heading from Taranto to Viggiano and leaving Puglia for the Basilicata. Google tells me that the Basilicata can be thought of as the "instep" of Italy. Basilicata covers an area of 9,995 square kilometres but has a population of only 600,000 making it one of the least populated areas of Italy. It is also apparently the most mountainous region in the south of Italy.
As for food, the folks at Italia.it say that the ", (is) the real symbol of cuisine in Basilicata, locally known as diavolicchio (little devil)."
The route: 203 kilometers, our first medium mountain stage of the race. Translated, that means the first hills of the race, with the 8km Valico di Serra di San Chirico and then the climb to Viggiano. That climb is 5km long and is covered twice, with a twisting descent in between. Favorites for the day include the pink jersey wearer, Michael Matthews.
The race: Our break of the day is large and interesting: Elia Viviani (Cannondale), Ben Swift (Team Sky), Tyler Farrar and Fabian Wegmann (Garmin-Sharp), Miguel Angel Rubiano (Colombia), Tony Hurel and Bjorn Thurau (Europcar), Marco Frapporti (Androni Giocattoli), Yonathan Monsalve (Neri Sottoli), Kenny Dehaes and Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Belisol). It looked like some of the sprinters were in search of points. Go Swift! Indeed, Swift took the intermediate sprint points and became the new virtual red jersey (leader on the road).
Eighty kilometers to go and the gap was at four minutes. It bounced around between 3 and 4 minutes for many kilometers. At the King of the Mountain point with 65 kilometers to go, Rubiano took the win over Monsalve and Wegmann.
Just about 50 kilometers to go and the gap had dropped to under 3 minutes with Sky leading the chase, in hopes of a stage win for Edvald Boasson Hagen (EBH). A few kilometers on and it was all Orica on the front working for Matthews. The gap dropped dramatically and was hovering between one and two minutes. With 25 kilometers to go, many of the breakaway riders had been reabsorbed into the peloton and it was clear that the bunch could catch the others easily.
Rain and the pace was picking up. Cue riders falling off the back of the pack. A slow motion crash in the bunch caused a split. Sure enough, as always in times of potential trouble, Evans and BMC were at the front.
Race radio has warned teams and riders of the dangerousness of the descent with the rain. #Giro
— OPQS Cycling Team (@opqscyclingteam) May 14, 2014
Lots of stress in the peloton as they descended in the rain. Fingers crossed they make it down safely. Yikes. Several small spills, but all were soon back up and riding. Ahead, Brambilla took a lead after some aggressive riding. And then, the sunshine was back. Four kilometers to go and Brambilla had 32 seconds. He is currently the virtual race leader. Behind him, the peloton regrouped and was chasing hard. Three kilometers to go and it was down to 18 seconds. Two kilometers and down to nine seconds.
And then things got interesting fast with some of the GC riders involved, including Cadel Evans. At the end, perfect timing for Diego Ulissi, with Evans finishing second on the stage.
Diego Ulissi wins in Viggiano! @DiegoUlissi vince a Viggiano! #giro pic.twitter.com/yNFWPeutMF
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 14, 2014
Stage: Diego Ulissi
Pink: Michael Matthews
2 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica Greenedge 0:00:14
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:15
4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:19
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:26
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky 0:00:35
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:37
8 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:41
9 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky 0:00:49
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:52
The wine: Bisceglia Terra di Vulcano 2011
Compliments of Winebow
The nearest store to me on Winesearcher has a price of $13.95.
From the importer:
The Bisceglia estate is an important and dynamic winery offering a range of top-quality products. After many years in the corporate food industry, Mario Bisceglia returned to his land to begin this adventure and founded the estate in 2001. His goal is to continually produce world-class wines made with both indigenous and international varietals grown in the Basilicata region.