Campionissimo

Novi Ligure, January the 2nd, 2015.
Fausto Coppi, the Campionissimo, died 55 years ago. Every year there is a celebration, to honour one of the greatest cyclist of all times, in a territory that gave much, very much to the world of cycling. In this occasion, this year, Museo dei Campionissimi invited Riccardo Guasco, the artist who created the image of La Mitica among others things. Guasco is not a cyclist, as he admits during the brief inauguration speech, but undoubtedly he succeeded in rapresenting a world with few lines like no one else. His characters, his stroke and his colours are always in between tradition and modernity, and this is probably the key of his deserved success. He says that, in occasion of this exhibition, he decided to bring out all materials he had about cycling, so that it is possible to see the cyclists portraits, beautiful sketches, tables, paintings and lithographies. It is a full immersion in a world that shows all its charm. All tables are really terrific and do worth a visit. The exhibition will be open until the end of March. Do not miss it.

MUSEO DEI CAMPIONISSIMI
Viale dei Campionissimi, 2
15067 Novi Ligure (AL)

Giro Rosa at Ghisallo

The final stage of the 25th Giro Rosa starts from Trezzo sull’Adda and arrives at Madonna del Ghisallo, on a climb. After the prologue in Caserta, girls arrive at the final stage with 953 km on their legs. Arriving at Ghisallo on an 8 km climbing rise, with a 14% slope, it will not be certainly a catwalk. Emma Pooley wins, Pauline Ferrand Prevot at the second place, Marianne Vos wearing the Maglia Rosa will be third and will win the Giro. The italian Elisa Longo Borghini, 6th at the arrive, will be 5th on the final overall. The 80 km stage just made us running to get on time at the Finish Line. The Peloton was fast on Brianza roads and to avoid to be stuck in the rear, we have to take a longer route to be ready for the final moments. There is a lot of people along the road, the sun is shining. The typical pink of the race here is amplified. The athletes are professional and well trained but it is impossible to hide their being girls. Some polished nails, some ribbon in the hair, at least at the start line. We are waiting for the first athletes, we can hear the helicopter above us, walkie talkies are crackling something, the voice of the race direction is saying they are just coming. When they face the Ghisallo hairpin turns, strain seems to have no mercy. Faces looks drawn after the 8 km climbing and the 14% slope at the very beginning, something that can really hit you down. The first in the ranking are the first to come, the worst is gone, they smile. Marianne Vos celebrates the victory. The award ceremony takes place in a very familiar atmosphere, there is not the distance of the big media event, some teams get inside the Sanctuary between tourists and fans. It is a more handy cycling and that is why we like it so much.

Red Hook Criterium Milano 2013

Milano Bovisa, rails and warehouses. Industrial suburbia and urban redevelopment. Red Hook Criterium takes place since 2010 in this scenario. Born in Brooklyn, NY, in the Red Hook neighborhood (the red corner, from dutch “hoek”, corner). A race for essential bikes, spare and sinewy, track-bikes, lap by lap on a urban course with no brakes but with great courage. The rules are just two: go fast, always, do not fall down, ever. Qualifications are in the afternoon, you can see those who are favourites, past editions winners, cyclists on the top of the season rank. Everybody are running between warehouses and rails. They wheel around so fast that you wonder how it can be humanly possible on city streets. It seems they feel no fear at all. Neither later, when something happens. Because of some technical problems it will be clear that there will be no lights on some part of the course. It will be necessary to ask for the people arrived by car to direct the headlights on the street, trying to have as much light as possible. Some spots are really dark, but no one gives up during the race. The speed is tremendous and spectacular, adrenaline is high even for those who are just watching. When the winner goes through the finish line, it’s a standing ovation. It’s over for now, but everybody is already thinking about the next edition.

CX

At the Giro d’Italia CX you can see passion. You can see young girls and boys jumping up and down the saddle, you can see trainers at the head of the little peloton explaining, curve after curve, hill after hill, how to deal with every single meter of the race. You can see those very trainers, during the race, standing on a difficult part of the course to see if their athletes are following his advice or whether they decided to do things on their own; they stay on the curve pushing, inciting, helping. Lap by lap you can see these young cyclists – sometimes really young – having really a hard time, never giving up, more and more tired, keep on running in the mud, climbing, between obstacles. Nobody seems to back down, even when the legs have no more strength and jumping down the saddle looks like jumping on a void. The 3rd stage in Brugherio was a terrific day, not only for the sun but also for the course which allowed to follow all the circuit by a single glance. An awesome cycling day.

When I met “il Vanni”

During the open day organized by FAI it was possible to visit Vigorelli Velodrome. There were many people in the line and while I was waiting I thought about Vanni Pettenella, who hung out with Vigorelli very much. I was lucky enough to meet Giovanni “Vanni” Pettenella some years ago. In a summer afternoon I arrived at via Semplicità looking for his shop. Myself, a “milanese” who occasionally came to Milano. I had read about the “Pettenella Technique” to tight the cog to the wheel with no lockring, because “pistard” were maniac of weight and if they could take away something, they took it away. Like the lockring, for instance. Those were the days when people in Italy started going around with fixed gear. Everybody was looking for 120mm hubs, track hubs, stems with extreme angles. I was looking for that stuff too. As soon as I entered the shop I realized I could breathe a special air, I was in a sort of time machine. Photos on the wall, the atmosphere of a city that has disappeared, but that remained among those walls like in a bubble. I was told that he has actually nothing left, that track stuff was on the shelves for years unwanted, then some americans came and bought everything. Maybe he saw my disappointed face, so he ask me to follow him and he took out some old hubs and a pretty much new 3ttt stem from a box. We talked about Tokyo 64, I told him about my grandpa as a fan of Maspes, we talked about Vigorelli. He wrapped up the hubs and the stem in some newspapers sheets. I said goodbye with the idea to come back early. Unfortunately, he passed away too soon and with him a piece of cycling history, a piece of Milano and Vigorelli history, too.

Stage 1

This is the peculiarity of cycling: it’s the only team sport in which is the single who wins and quite often you race against yourself. When you arrive at the last 80 meters at the end of the way, and your legs are not what you expected, when you feel your riding getting harder and harder at the last kilometers of the hill…in that very moment you are on your own. You can play up as much as you can, push yourself beyond your limits, and you will know from the beginning that you’re not going to win! Someone will say to you that winning is not that important. If you think about it, it’s pretty obvious, winning is not for everybody! That’s why cycling, despite everything, it’s a team sport, and it will always be: plenty of people, for only one winner. You need framebuilders, mechanics and you need domestiques – those who stops their race to help you after a puncture and those who open the way for you to win. We want to talk about all those aspects, minimal and remarkable. We will tell about champions emotions, but also about those athletes on the photos background, out of focus, arms to the sky to celebrate the winning of someone else; about those framebuilders who make bicycles, about amateur who spend their time assembling their own bikes, about those who wheelbuild, about those who desing new saddles. We want to celebrate cycling. We want to find out every single perspective.
That’s why Il Culto del Gregario was born.

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