Today’s ride is fairly flat finishing on the Santuario di Oropa (CAT 1 climb) which is the seat of the ‘Montagna Pantani’ for the 2017 Giro, recalling Marco Pantani’s great achievement during stage 15 at the 1999 Giro, when he made a breathtaking comeback after a mechanical accident at the foot of the climb, chasing all the way from the back to the front of the race, and nailing an unforgettable victory.
From our overnight stop of Tortona we had to make a brief transfer south to the start point of Castellania. The stage is very short and clearly divided into two parts, from the off Mick was fast running on a succession of good roads with thankfully a collection of hard shoulders. The flat roads dissected the PO Valley once again.
The weather was once again warm and the roads moderately busy with a mass of fly’s to preoccupy Mick’s concentration.
His cadence increased to a more than healthy pace as we headed north on SS231 through several small towns enroute to Bella and the Pantani mountain.
Negotiating Beilla was fraught with danger and some navigations headaches but finally the climb started upto the Oropa and it magnificent Sanctuary.
Considering it is classed CAT 1 ascent, Mick coped amazingly and on completion he committed that is was in fact easier than some CAT 2 & CAT 3 climbs in Sicily and Sardinia.
We arrived at our hotel earlier than expected giving Mick the chance to clean his bike. Our evening meal consisted Pizza in the palatial surroundings of a fast food joint and the early to bed.