Polka-dot Panties La Spezia to San Remo/Mandelieu
Imagine the looks on the faces of the residents of La Spezia as 50 cyclists ride through the town centre wearing an array of fancy dress. Damian Hopley chose a full set of giraffe pyjamas, Lee Dixon has got on some polka-dot panties, Les Ferdinand goes for a huge padded bra and I don some pink knickers and a red tinsel wig! The Dallaglio Foundation's motto is 'Powerful Together' and the fancy dress is something that everyone can (and rather too willingly for some) get involved with. It's great to put smiles on faces ahead of cycling uphill.
On that note, it's got to be ominous when the logistics team announce there will be a pitstop after just 7km ... Let's just say the road from La Spezia north towards Genova is very hilly. Still, everyone makes good progress, 'attacking' the hills with vigour, and the cameraman follows us every metre of the way, capturing grimacing faces.
Dinner is hosted in the evening by Sacla at the Grand Hotel Arenzano and Dallaglio by Sacla sauce is on the menu. Sacla's Lorenzo Ercole makes a very generous donation to the DCS and we also have the pleasure of the company of the Mayor of Asti, Mr Giorgio Galvagno, and the President of the province, Mrs Maria Teresa Armosino.
We depart from Arenzano in heavy, relentless rain. It's a truly miserable day as we pull in to San Remo completely drenched - so much for seeing the Italian coast.
Never a good idea to cycle down a motorway so a short bus trip takes us over the French boarder. The hotel in Mandelieu on the French Riviera is a clapped out affair with a casino but nothing compared to the villa where we are hosted in the evening. The brother of Phil Brown from sponsors Causeway owns an enormous villa overlooking the Med complete with 30-seater cinema, games room and gym complex including spa, jacuzzi and sauna!!
Such a shame that the stage one guys are leaving us - they have been fantastic. Special mention to the sterling efforts of Kerry who is four months pregnant and Hannah from Blenheim Capital Partners, who flew in from the States the day before we set off and who flies straight out from Nice after cycling 680km - and all with a permanent smile on her face.
The quote of the day came from Dicko who, when asked by sponsor if he was sick of hills, said "No we love 'em. We now hate the flat - it's too windy." Berets, onions and the Stade de France to come...
Support Lawrence and his fellow cyclists in this mammoth ride by donating via www.dallagliocycleslam.com .