Tirreno-Adriatico: Stefan Küng and the Battle of Serrazzano

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2: Camaiore to Pomarance

So you’re riding along on your camera motorbike, getting some nice footage of the peloton as riders reach the small town of Serrazzano, beginning their climb up the narrow streets, when you suddenly get the feeling you’re in trouble.

Stefan Kung of BMC approached the camera bike. Sensing trouble, the driver speeded up…

At first it’s not obvious, but then you catch sight of Stefan Küng, the 23-year-old BMC rider, peeling off the front of the pack, his seven team mates including race leader Damiano Caruso a few feet away, and moving towards you.

An attack? God you hope so, however unlikely. But you realize this is an attack of a different kind. Küng looks annoyed, with you, and he wants a word. There’s only one thing for it. Nudge the driver in the ribs and tell him to speed up.

These were the scenes with 94km to ride on Stage 2 of the Tirreno-Adriatico, with the breakaway some three minutes up the road, and the group riding a non-threatening tempo as they passed through this sleepy town on a hill.

Küng noticed none of the scenery, and when he failed to catch the BMW’s wheel he called out instead, showing the confidence of a ten-year road captain who might know how to box, or something. But either through professional obligation, or self-preservation, the driver kept his distance.

Küng switched to Plan B, returning to his teammates to discuss matters, and maybe get someone older to have a go. Watching this at home, from the perspective of the motorbike’s back seat, you couldn’t help but think “oh hell, what now?”

Quinziato brings his finger to bear. This time it worked.

Up the road came Manuel Quinziato, the schoolteacher ready to confiscate things and start calling parents. A 15-year pro, Quinziato didn’t see the need for diplomacy at a time like this. He pointed at the man he wished to speak with… You (me?) Yes you… his index finger, suddenly incredibly long, poking its way through TV screens and into living rooms across the land, and instructed the driver to listen and then submit to his demands.

This time the driver resisted the throttle, and any thoughts of a mad dash for horizon, and eased back. We didn’t see or hear what was said, which can only mean the camera man riding pillion decided his best chance for an easy life was to look the other way and pretend to be busy.

Whatever the message was (a reasonable request to get keep away on the descent, perhaps?) the driver got the message. Weirdly so did we.

For results from Stage 2 of the Tirreno-Adriatico go to the ProCyclingStats website.

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