Hi yous guys………….(just kidding Hugh)

I am in Italy where Pantani has reared his bald head again in his first race back since all the palava. Today was a double stage in the morning we had a crit for 78kms and then in the afternoon where we had a Team Time Trial which lasted a whopping 8kms won by Lampre and then Saeco in second spot. Fakta were 15th out of 20 teams. The weather is great here, 19 degrees today and it is like this all week. Tomorrow is a 233kms epic finishing in Modena and I bet it will be hairy with a few steep climbs and knowing Italy, plenty of speed…. I have put 23 sprockets on for tomorrow as there is a steep finish.

I’ll keep you posted
Ciao B

Roundup: Good evening to all you “can’t wait for the bright evenings to come brigade”. I hope you are all fit and virus free. I am on a little break from active duty at the moment and enjoying every minute of it. I finished last Sunday in Sassoulo in the district of Bologna in Italy where we finished the Settimana Coppi Bartali 5-day. It was very hilly bar one day and the boys did ok. 2 of them had just came out of Paris-Nice, one with bruised ribs the other with a very tired body. The race was very fast in spots and the mountains came in there dozens to greet the lads of the groupetto everyday bar one which was flat if you call the steep side of Howth in different villages over 160kms flat, then there u are “welcome to Italy”. Basically 2 riders didn’t finish. One crashed and the other is way out of shape. The guy who crashed was Michael Reihs who I worked with before in Phonak. He is 23 and still looking to get a big win to start earning some decent money and a bit of respect from the manager. I had to pick him up of the dirt basically his tyre blew of the rim as he was going into a corner at 100kph which then flipped him onto his left side and basically left him with half his arse and elbow on the roadside. Its hard picking someone up of the ground when they are screaming in pain. Number 1 you are afraid to touch some burned part of the body and number 2 he basically wants to be left alone to gather his pride back. Michael is a gem though and one day he is going to make it because he has great speed and determination and he is not afraid of hard work, but at the moment luck is not on his side and he has a shit contract, his morale is down the toilet and the manager really doesn’t care about him because he doesn’t really have to because that’s the real life of being a pro. It’s the same in all jobs though you don’t produce you don’t receive much and if he was top dog he would be pampered but he has to wait his turn and start to impress a few people. This is when you make it I think you can look back and say I want to stay on top and I am not going back to those days.

It was good to see Pantani again. He has gained a bit of weight and he still has that godly pedalling power on a climb. He was 2nd on the last stage and he was up overall. Fakta have been invited to do the Giro for this year which is good news for the lads as they can show what they can do in a 3 week stage race. It also might get Fakta a new sponsor which could give us a real boost. I don’t know if I am doing the race. I hope no. to be honest, as the other two mechanics on the team would really drive me up the wall for 3 weeks but if there were two others doing it I would go for sure. I go back to Holland for the 11th and we do a handful of races there so talk to you later congrats to all the boys in the Leinster Champs who did swords proud. Sean will you take Mick Rock up to Howth, in the name of God, and show him Gaybos house.

ciao b