Room with a view - Pictures from the Giro d'Italia Grande Partenza in Naples
We managed to nab ourselves a pretty decent vantage point - here's some pics from there and elsewhere on the course...

Sweltering heat greeted the Giro d'Italia when it started in Naples yesterday, capped by a sizzling sprint from Mark Cavendish to take the maglia rosa. We're out snapping pictures of bikes among other things - you'll be seeing a lot of those soon - but we also got some of yesterday's race, including from the vantage point of a hotel room with a pretty spectacular view.

Unlike the Tour de France, the Giro still has the tradition of last year's winner starting the race in the maglia rosa - and here he is, Ryder Hesjedal.

If your going to snap a team with a volcano as a backdrop, it might as well be the one wearing sulphur yellow - Vini Fantini-Selle Italia

Here's Sir Brad with Christian Knees acting as wingman... they may be a break with tradition, but Rapha's take on the ex-national champions' bands is definitely striking.

Map search on Booking.com plus timely stage details meant we had a cheap room with a fantastic view of the race, not to mention Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples... we love the internet. After all, it's where we live. Here's Cameron Wurf, out on his own for much of the day.

Being up there meant that a tilt-shift opportunity was bound to happen sooner or later - we've given Mark Cavendish's OPQS train the post=processing treatment. He's the one with the black helmet.

Wurf still out front as he heads through the first kilometre of another lap... but he won't be for much longer.

There's a series of corners coming up, and you can see which teams want to get their riders through it first...

... and here's why - a crash here could cost someone the chance of going for a stage win, or even end their Giro.

2008 Madison world champions side by side.

A series of tight corners presents traffic problems for riders needing to chase back, like Euskaltel's Miguel Minguez here.

Lampre Merida's mechanic was a busy man - they seemed to have a rider off the back every lap. Here. Pippo Pozzato has just had the magic spanner treatment...

... while Daniele Pietropolli shows some nice bike handling as he fights to rejoin the bunch...

... this time it's Przemyslaw Niemiec showing his cornering skills...

On such a hot day, we reckon this guy got some jealous looks from the peloton every time it passed by...

Our bed & breakfast was the Dimora dei Baroni on the Via Caracciolo waterfront in Mergellina. Very friendly welcome, and as for that phrase, 'See Naples and Die' - it was absolutely a view to die for. Ask for one of the seafront rooms - ours was called Capri. Possibly one for a romantic weekend away, rather than taking the bike.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.