What's Cool In Road Cycling

Press Pass: The Crazy Day of Lombardy

I started from my town of Agugliaro, about 100 kilometres from Venice at 7am, and we arrived at Milan by motorway at 9.30am. And here…we are lost.

Why? Simple, this area is full of traffic and of one-way roads. So…we arrrived in late at the start in Cantщ. But we got lucky, as the group did a little circuit around this city, and we caught them. I’ve been impressed by the speed of the group. They were only at the 30th km, but the speed was already really high. And a group was trying to go away, with Kloden and Kirchen in it.

After this “post”, we went to the first feed zone, in Cesena Brianza, km number 90. It was really windy at this point, and there was a little group ahead, with 5 men. After 3 minutes arrived the general group. We got back into our car, and followed the pro team’s cars. It has been crazy driving, as they run like
mad in the little towns. Luckily the traffic is closed and controlled by many policemen.

At km number 130 we left the group and went to the center of Bergamo, at the finish. We went to take our press pass and checked the best points of views of this exciting last km. There were many famous people, like Saronni, Moser, Zanini, Ballerini and more. Believe me: it’s really exciting hear them talking about cycling JUST 1 metre from you!

The speaker alerted us that a group was trying to get away, with many
attacks. First Vino (Alexandre Vinokurov), then Kessler, Vasseur, Frigo and so on.
But nobody had the power to make a difference. “Lastras is trying to escape” said the speaker, but he didn’t get away. And at the finish line the pro photographers were betting on a final sprint. “1 km, just 1 km at the finish”. All the photographers were taking their places to shoot the best photo.

Before seeing the cyclist there was a few seconds of silence and then…a scream of the people present at this race. The Llast curve and Bartoli is ahead! A group of 9 riders were pushing their bikes like crazy but just one man was going to raise his hand. And it’s Michele Bartoli!

After the arrive all the journalists encircle the riders for a comment on the race. Rebellin and Camenzind were visibly disappointed by their defeat. “I tried my chance” said Casagrande. Bartoli of course was showing a big smile, and was joking with everybody. Bettini also really happy.

After the photos of Bettini with the World Cup’s leader jesery, it was the turn of whole Mapei team. With Tafi, Ernesto Colnago and Squinzi, the team manager of Mapei. The last race for the Italian team.

At the finish line Ballerini was talking with a group of men about organize a little tour for national teams. That’s an idea which many people would like to see, as for example, Giro di Lucca, before the World Championship. But many clubs don’t agree with
this idea, and neither many sponsors. Time ago there was a grand tour for national teams, it was the Tour de France.

When Bartoli left Mapei, many magazines were talking about the broken friendship between Michele and Luca Scinto. But behind the podium, all the Mapei group was cheering at the Warrior, and Scinto too. Also there was a nice shaking of hands between Bartoli and Bettini.

We came back really tired after 12 hours, and many kms on our little car.

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