Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Cycling Songs: Il Bandito e Il Campione - Francesco De Gregori



This song is about Costante Girardengo and Sante Pollastri (an Italian anarchist).
Both of them were born and raised in Novi Ligure, a little Italian town, with the same love for cycling.
August 10, 1927, Sante Pollastri was arrested in Paris. He was there just to watch his friend Girardengo  riding a Six-day.

Friday, 4 May 2018

The First Pink Jersey


It is something hard to describe.
Wearing the first Pink Jersey can save a career, can save a season, can save a Giro.
Today, in Jerusalem, Duomoulin was simply amazing.
He is stronger than last year and came to Giro 101 for a memorable double.
He introduced himself to his contenders with today's incredible back to back.
I am not a stats maniac but I don't think we can count so many riders that have won the Giro the previous year and have been the first pink jersey a year later.
"Hey guys, allow me to introduce myself:  I am the Pink Jersey". This is what Dumoulin said today with his Time Trial.
After the press conference and the time trial,Tom Dumoulin seems to have scored the very first rounds, demolishing Froome with words and facts.
Nevertheless, the Giro is too long to say it's over.
What matters is that Dumoulin may not win the Giro 101, but he is the first pink jersey and that is enough to be remembered in a positive way in the Giro 101.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Paris - Roubaix 2018


How hard is it to be Sagan?
"You are a champion","you are the strongest one","you have to win", "Of course you have won, you were the strongest".
These are the main sentences we hear about Sagan. In addition to this, you have to deal with the fact that what you do will never be enough.
In Sagan's position, once you have won a race, you have just done your job.
In my opinion ,every Sagan's success is fully deserved and is praiseworthy like every other cycling victory.
We often forget that cycling is a sport for losers.
When 200 riders start a race with just one winner, it is easy to understand that 199 will loose and just one will win.
This consideration seems obvious but I invite my 25 readers to think about this sentence and repeat it as a sort of Mantra.
Sagan is accused to be more talkative than active but this is just his way to deal with the enormous pressure that he endures every race.
Imagine being in Sagan's position without laughing about it; it would be a nightmare.
It is already hard to be a cyclist, it is impossible to be a rider that must win every race he starts.
On Sunday, Sagan rode a fantastic race and deserved this incredible victory.
Celebrating his success, he said an incredible truth: you can attack and ride the perfect race but you have to be lucky.
Paris-Roubaix is such an extreme race that sometimes is the best way to normalize situations pumped too much up.
Sagan used the Paris-Roubaix to do this and he did it in the best way.
He didn't tried to arrive alone in the velodrome, starting a battle with his breakaway mate in the last kilometers, he just wanted to win.
Paris-Roubaix is a race that brings everybody back on earth, you can't theorize or preach too much, you have just to ride the most concrete thing on earth: the cobbles.
The riders know this but for people who never tried the cobbles is easy to forget.





***




I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Michael Goolaerts.




Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Quick-Step Floors' Domination


Quick-Step Floors is dominating the 2018 seasons but who is really happy with this?
I think that the only people happy with Quick-Step Floors' domination are Lefevere and his staff.
In particular, in Belgium, this is a huge problem to deal with.
Their most representative team is dominating but the Belgian riders in the team are not winning any significant race, with the little exception of Lampaert's Dwars Door Vlaanderen.
Is this enough for a nation in which cycling is like a religion? I don't think so.
Also Gilbert said, with a bit of regret, that when you ride for Quick-Step Floors you can never consider yourself as The captain and you have to accept it.
My question is: if you are a champion, can you accept to have, potentially forever, a secondary role?
What would do Terpstra as the only captain of a team? He would be controlled as all the others I think.
Terpstra is a solid cobbles rider and deserved his victory but would have been the same if Van Avermaet or Sagan would have attacked?
Quick-Step Floors' strategies are the best in the world and we are witnessing an incredible phenomenon in cycling, that we have never faced before.
For the first time in cycling history, the team is the hero to admire more than its riders.
We will remember Quick-Step Floors more than its riders I think.
This phenomenon is more common in other sports such as Football or Basketball but I've never seen this happening in cycling.
Enjoy Quick-Step Floors' last miracle.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

A Poet In Sanremo


Giovanni Pascoli (1855 - 1912), an Italian poet, talked about the Poetica del fanciullino (Poetics of the child) which he described as the unceasing capability to get stunned by the world, typical of childhood.
Pascoli opposed both the renunciation of self-analysis and the abandonment of the self-centered point of view, in favor of a semi-irrational comfort which the poet gives himself through poetry.
What Nibali did yesterday on the Poggio was exactly the same, he applied the Poetics of the child to cycling.
In these days, dominated by Watts, computers, data analysis and science, Nibali abandoned both a strict data analysis and a self-centered point of view, attacking with an irrational comfort, just based on his own sensation powered by the magic climb on which he was, the Poggio.
The moment Nibali crossed the finish line, every single witness of this incredible feat started crying, the child inside us had been woken up by this incredible champion that showed the world that, sometimes, a poet can still beat science.
Chapeau Nibali and thank you for waking up our inner fanciullino.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Strade Bianche 2018


The title does not need any addition.
The 2018 edition of this race is already a piece of Cycling History.
First of all, I have to admit that Belgian riders promptly answered to my last post, Proficiat!!
Secondly, I choose this picture because I think that each of this riders deserves a special mention.
Benoot took the first victory of his career. The fact is that winning the 2018 edition of Strade Bianche is worth a career.
Nevertheless, what impressed me has been the way he won the race. He just never stop attacking, choosing a spectacular sector to launch his final attack.
He rode like a champion in a legendary edition of this race.
In one day and with his first victory, he is already part of the cycling history. The hero of the mud.
Bardet proved the world that he is not just one of the many French riders focused just on the Tour de France and pushed by the French cycling environment just to reach this goal.
He proved the world and most of all his nation that he is a  true rider and a tough one.
Van Aert seemed arrived straight outta the good old days of cycling, without radio and without so many team tactics. He attacked all the time during the race and fainted on the finish line. Welcome to road cycling Wout!
Every single rider that finished the race would deserve a special mention but I only write emotional impressions, so, in conclusion, I think that every single rider that finished the 2018 Strade Bianche could add a kind of victory on his personal Palmar├Ęs.