Saturday, October 6, 2007

L'Eroica + Monte Paschi Eroica

Tomorrow is L'Eroica, an event that relives the heroic age of the "Giants of the Road". Participants ride on vintage racing bicycles and wearing the wool jerseys of bygone eras through some of the most beautiful roads of Chianti, Valdarbia and Valdorcia, with many sections of unpaved surfaces ("strade bianche", gravel & shale roads) which makes it possible to relive the atmosphere of "heroic" times of cycling. 2,200 entrants, from all over the world, are registered for this year's event. It's something I would like to do in the future but I need to find a decent vintage, really vintage, bike.

If you cannot make the event it is possible to ride it at other times as the long and medium courses are now permanently marked. Also, the BluFreccia bicycling tour company, with the cooperation of L'Eroica Ciclismo d'Epoca, offers "Eroica all year long" with accommodations in hotels typical of the Chianti region. More details are available at

A professional race named the "Monte Paschi Eroica" will be raced for the first time on Tuesday, October 9th, after the 11 th edition of the L'Eroica. The race will be organized by RCS Sport, which also organizes Giro d'Italia and Tirreno-Adriatico among other races. RCS Sport has already confirmed modern champions like Danilo Di Luca, Het Volk winner Filippo Pozzato, Daniele Bennati, Flanders champion Alessandro Ballan and 2006 Roubaix king Fabian Cancellara. The organizers are also hoping to secure the participation of World Champion Paolo Bettini.

Bennati was invited to take part in a special reconnaissance. "When they invited me to take part in this inspection I replied with enthusiasm," said Bennati, who lives in nearby Arezzo. "These roads are used often when I train, even if I don't cover le strade bianche. "It was a sensation of turning back in time. I did not think that there still existed paths like these, where you only see a tractor every now and then," Bennati continued after his reconnaissance. "During the test I covered all seven sectors, and I can say that the last one contains points of 18%. You have to use a 39x25 (ed: that's a professional speaking!), and you can't rise out of the saddle."
The race will finish in the medieval Piazza del Campo, home of the famous horse races. "It will be an important race that could become an important Classic. ... I can already imagine the atmosphere of the arrival in the Piazza del Palio."

Photos: images from L'Eroica

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