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Giro d'Italia Stage 16
26 May 2003


  Pavia Goes GIRO (May 26th, 2003)
Photos and text by Fabio, all rights reserved.


The following set of images was taken in Pavia, Italy, both during and after Stage 16 of the 86th Giro d'Italia (Arco-Pavia, km. 207), on Monday, May the 26th, 2003. After taking the start in Trentino, the peloton moved to Lombardy and crossed the predominantly flat roads of the Southern part of the region, going from the cycling-mad East to the sultry Southwest and its race fields. Riders got to Pavia at about 16h40 local time, greeted by a huge crowd of fans, under cloudy skies suddenly turned sunny. Pavia is also the place where the Unione Velocipedistica Italiana (since 1964 "Federazione Ciclistica Italiana" - Italian Cycling Federation) was born back in the days of 1885.

Many wished local favourite Giovanni Lombardi of Domina Vacanze-Elitron could cross his arms in triumph today, but the 1992 Olympic Champion wasn't given the chance to go for a home win, because he was "used" as leadout man for young sprinter Daniele Bennati. Probably not a very good choice, as the 22-year-old from Arezzo was pipped to the line by both Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo's fastest wheels, getting his fifth win so far in the race despite the bad crash he suffered on Sunday) and France's Jimmy Casper.


The Jolly Roger flag (or just plain Skull and Crossbones) and a Mercatone Uno Jersey in Pavia's "Viale Matteotti", not far from the finishing line. Just one of the many examples of immense popularity Marco Pantani still enjoys among most Italian fans.


More images of "the Pirate" along the route.


Not just Pantani's, but also Cipollini's popularity continues unabated in Italy. And the "images" you can see on this Domina-Vacanze Elitron truck, featuring the World champion as well as other team members, are a further proof of that.


At just 400 metres from the line, the crowd could watch (and they did watch, ven though in this pic most sem to be looking somewhere else) the last part of the stage live on TV, thanks to the giant screen you can see at the center of the image.


The boys are coming!!!! The peloton is getting closer to the line. Just a few more metres and, after turning to the right, they'll be on the final straight. Pavia's very own Lombardi knows it well, and stays up front, doing the final leadout for Bennati. Cyclamen-jerseyed Alessandro Petacchi and young Graziano Gasparre (wearing the De Nardi Colpack's blue jersey) follow.



 Pavia's enthusiastic crowd welcomes the peloton, including that pink jerseyed man going under the name of Gilberto Simoni, whom you can see in the middle of the pack. The Giro is back in town 21 years later, after the 1981 edition when another sprinter (Switzerland's Daniel Gisiger) took line honours. 12 years before, in 1969, Pavia brought good luck to Denmark's Ole Ritter, first stage winner in the city.


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