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86th Giro d'Italia
Stage 17 Salice Terme 28 May 2003

The Crowds and Personalities

Photos courtesy of Fabio, all rights reserved.
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The crowd at Salice Terme, waiting for the start of Stage 17. It was the first time this hamlet at the border between Lombardy and Piedmont hosted a Tour of Italy stage, and fans answered by filling the streets. Attendance was huge on the morning of Wednesday, May 28.


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More fans waiting for their favourite Girini". Just like anywhere else in Italy, Marco Pantani was the most applauded rider in Salice as well, with Gilberto Simoni as good second. Petacchi too has many fans in town. But to tell the truth, the whole peloton received a warm welcome.


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Besides the current stars of the peloton, also several champions of the past and cycling personalities, from Francesco  Moser to Italy's National Team Coach Franco Ballerini, from Italian Cycling Federation President Giancarlo Ceruti to Fabrizio Macchi (world hour recordman for disabled persons) to Vera Carrara (Itera rider, Individual Pursuit European Champion, and winner in the latest track World Cup round in Sydney) were in Salice.  And the man in the pic is another of those cycling personalities, a champion of a not-so-distant past, Evgeni Berzin, winner of the 1994 Giro ahead of the likes of Marco Pantani and Miguel Indurain. Russian-born "Eugenio" now lives in the nearby town of Broni, where a prestigious criterium race is held on the Tuesday following the Giro end. And this year will be no exception to the rule.


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Franco Ballerini, the man who accomplished a miracle (having the whole Italian Team united in support of one rider) at the last World Championships. The fairheaded girl beside him is the above-mentioned Vera Carrara.


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Another excellent rider of the past, now turned successful tv commentator; Luigi (Gigi) Sgarbozza, one of fastest wheels of the Italian peloton in the late 60s and early 70s.


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The US POSTAL (presented by Berry Floor) team has got fans in Italy as well. And here's one of them.


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Even Aussie Fans were there, proudly displaying their national team jerseys.


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And of course we couldn't miss the local fans, wearing the jerseys of some local teams, hardly known even to Yours Truly (who is not based far from there, after all).


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The beautiful Nazzano Castle overlooks the Valley around Salice Terme and the nearby places.

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