Four seasons in one day
If ever Continental want to promote their excellent Four Season tyres they should set today's footage to the Crowded House track and sit back.
A cold start under spectacular blue skies and we set off north into the Tuscan countryside and rode our way through the wine list at Riva - Lawrence's favourite Barnes Italian where these mad schemes are hatched - from Montelpuciano onwards.
The longest day of the Slam at 167km, and all going so well up to halfway. Then we came out of a tunnel to fog and snow, and worse still got lost and ended up sliding down and walking back up an unmade road. Lost an hour, and another map reading, and 7 hours turned into ten.
Up past Siena and in to San Gimignano. Thank god for William from Giant who led us out for long spells, and we ended up doing 185km.
Serious sense of humour failure which may pass. A short fun day tomorrow to recover mind and body.
Paul Kimmage wisely swerved today to finish off Neil Warnock. Lee Dixon summed him up in sentence. Can't be hard - and Les Ferdinand said it was his hardest day ever.
I broke a thumbnail today and every sentyence tyed on Blackberry comes outy like tyhois. Nihghytamare.
Watch the coverage before the Italy game tomorrow.
No HGV's allowed on the road on Sundays so we stuck to a planned rest day.
Yesterday had proved harder for some. One group took a wrong turn and climbed 900m to the ski resort of San Daniele yet took it all in good humour.
The guys from Causeway were just out for ever, but determined to finish, rolling in at 8.20pm in the dark.
Sensational massage from 'Rooster', who keeps Ian Botham going on his epic marches. What Both has done in the fight against leukaemia is beyond belief.
We are still sorting out our teething problems. Garmins are sensational but you still need to navigate. One small mistake ...
Jo and Nicola run our food stops brilliantly, with good humour. Now Jo's Caf. Inevitably.
Lawrence shared the view that going through the tunnel midway yesterday was like the wardrobe leading to the land of Narnia. Flat roads and blue skies (as we cruised through the classic vineyards of Orvieto, Montepulciano and Chianti) gave way to snow, fog and the strength sapping 'col russes' that take away any chance of a rhythm and hammer your legs.
They say the deep frost leads to bumper crops, killing all the bugs.
Tomorrow is billed as pancake day. North west to Pisa, then west along the canal until we hit the beach, then up the coast, flat all the way, through the wonderfully retro resort of Forte di Marmi - with it's huge cycle paths, where everybody rides - and on to La Spezia. Still 150km though, stretched to avoid the centre of Pisa.
Thank goodness we abandoned driving back to Rome for the match. A turgid England win. And there was Diego Dominguez - looking happy - so they found him. And he's still got my gloves.
For more on the Lawrence Dallaglio Cycle Slam, visit www.dallagliocycleslam.com
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