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Two great local places to watch the Giro

Posted by on May 12th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

The Italians know how to do bike racing.
(Photo: Gazzetta.it)

The Giro D’Italia, Italy’s grand tour stage race, continues on after the tragic, fatal crash of Belgian racer Wouter Weylandt during Stage Three.

Being such a bike-race-crazy town, local cafes and pubs are showing the race on the big screen. With the race starting to heat up, it’s definitely worth grabbing a drink and tuning in.

“… there are tons of people in Portland who are justifiably nuts about bicycle racing. They deserve a home where they can follow their passion without playing second fiddle to the big leagues.”
— Jesse McCann, Apex Bar

At least two Portland businesses are showing the Giro: Oblique Coffee Roasters (3039 SE Stark) is streaming the race live in the early mornings, then playing recaps in the afternoon; and Apex Bar (1216 SE Division) is playing recaps all afternoon.

Oblique owner John Chandler believes he’s the only business in town playing the Giro D’Italia live, thanks largely to the fact that Giro stages usually finish sometime around 8:00 am – more of a coffee shop hour.

“I had the place packed with a standing-room only crowd at 6:00 am last year for the Tour [De France].”

John, and his wife Heather own and operate Oblique Coffee, a micro-roaster and Café at the corner of SE Stark and 30th Place. They’ve both raced bicycles, and they’re big racing fans.

John outfitted his café with flat-screen TVs and a satellite so he could play bike races. “Plus,” John, — a devout Bianchi fan — added, “my building is Bianchi Celeste Green.”

Apex Bar on SE Division and 12th may not be painted Celeste, but they’re a well-known destination in the community thanks to the generous bike parking on their patio. Apex is playing daily race recaps at noon, 5pm, and 8pm. Why is a beer bar showing bike racing? We asked Apex owner Jesse McCann:

“We’re showing the Giro (and all the other cycling we can get our hands on) because professional cycling is grueling, exciting, and although it doesn’t receive the same fanfare as other “ball sports” in America, there are tons of people in Portland who are justifiably nuts about bicycle racing. They deserve a home where they can follow their passion without playing second fiddle to the big leagues. It’s one thing to call yourself a bicycle bar, but if cycling isn’t taking precedence, then it’s just lip service. APEX is putting its money where its mouth is every day by showing ALL the bike racing that’s available on TV.”

The Giro runs until May 29th this year, with eight mountain stages (compared to the Tour De France’s six), three time trials, and over 95,000 total feet of climbing. The General Classification fight starts tomorrow with the first mountain stage— Stage Six, culminating in a 3,000 foot-climb to a mountain top finish in Montevergine di Mercogliano.

Are you following the Giro? If you know of other good spots to watch it, chime in below…

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  • Russ Roca May 12, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Great that the Oblique and Apex are showing the race! A few weeks ago, we were actually were trying to find a place that was showing Paris-Roubaix and Flanders and were surprised at how few bars were showing it.

    We ended up watching it at a bar with indoor bike parking (which was great), but despite the fact that the group we were with was the majority in the place, they wouldn’t take it off the baseball game (which no one was watching). So we were regulated to the smaller screen with no audio.

    So Kudos to Oblique and Apex for stepping up.

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  • David Boerner May 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Russ, watch for more of the same at Oblique and Apex. John from Oblique is a huge racing fan, and usually runs just about every race at some point in the day, if not live. And Apex plays just about every race that Universal Sports and Versus run.

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  • Jim Lee May 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Il Giro d’Italia every morning with tea, home-made corn bread, and a mandarin orange! Channel 33.5.

    Look at the promo, which briefly shows last year’s finish in Arena di Verona. In May 1995 I sat there, drinking wine and writing postcards home, just as J. Caesar had done a couple of millennia (second declension, neuter, nominative, plural) previously.

    Il Giro was finishing somewhere else, broadcast all over in incomprehensible Italian, but, hey, I got the spirit!

    Andy Hampsten lives!

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  • James May 12, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Actually, Celeste is considered to be blue according to Bianchi

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  • David Boerner May 12, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I’m not sure where to get the official word from Bianchi, but the Bianchi Wikipedia says the color is simply called “celeste.” I guess you can interpret it however you want (especially since it kept changing). But it would be nice to see the official word from Bianchi.

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