Massed at the starting line for Stage 9 with team cars lined up to followI held my prime ground as the crowd filled in around me.I had biked to Lugo - the start of the 9th stage of the Giro d'Italia. I had a great view of the cyclists coming in and the mass for the start. The team cars with bikes on the top. And the endless entertainment of the crowd who had turned out to support their favorites.Pink - the color of the leading jersey - was the color of the day. Kids were dressed head to toe in giro pink swag. The dogs wore pink t-shirts. The stores had pink balloons and decorations. And thousands of people turned out to send off the cyclists on the biggest race of the year in this cycling-mad country.Ivan Basso - famous pro cyclist from Italy is racing here and drew big cheers, as did other Italian favorites. And Cadel Williams - the current leader wearing the coveted pink jersey drew cheers and applause as he rode through the crowds pressed on either side of narrow corridor cyclists passed through on the way to the start.Giro FanThey love their cyclists in Italy. I've seen bike trails with plaques dedicated to their racing champions. Every weekend I see pelotons of cyclists on beautiful road bikes in bright kits blasting around in focused pacelines. Many cyclists give a hearty Ciou as they fly by like the hare passing the tortoise as I plod along on my touring bike loaded down with panniers and give them a friendly Ciou and a wave back.The country around Brisighella is made for the beautiful light carbon climbing machines that zip up the hills. While I can get up them on my touring bike, it's a lot of
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