Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gran Premio Palio di Recioto

The town of Negrar, in Valpolicella, has an annual two week long event featuring wine (especially Recioto) and food competitions. Part of the activities includes a very important "Under 23" race, the "Gran Premio Palio di Recioto". Teams come from all over the world come to tackle a very tough 92.5 mile (149 Km) course.

Recioto is a wine made from grapes that have been dried on mats after harvest. The fermentation is stopped early so that the sweetness remains. It's unique to the Valpolicella region and somewhat of an acquired taste. Well, it wasn't too hard for me to acquire it!

I did some climbing in order to enjoy some quiet back roads with beautiful views of the hills of Valpolicella in order to arrive at Negrar. Once again I returned to a spot at the end of a long, hard climb which the riders would pass through 6 times. Last year I had been invited into a home here because it was pouring rain and cold. Although yesterday was a spectacular day I was invited into the house once again to eat and drink (Recioto, of course). All of the Recioto here was from the vineyards of the people invited. It was soooooo good. They have a good system: once the riders pass everyone goes to the house to chat, drink and eat. When you hear the lead motorcycles come by you stroll out to the road and watch the racers come through. Then, back to the house for more festivities, etc.

Once the riders come through for the last time everyone heads down into Negrar to watch the finish.

Compliments to Ermanno Capelli (Unidelta Garda) who won in 4.03', an average speed of 22.86 mph (km 36.790). He joins Moser and Cunego as a winner of the Gran Premio Palio di Recioto.

Photos: of race day

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