Tuesday, March 25, 2008

47° Gran Premio “Palio del Recioto”

The "Palio del Recioto" is a very important U23 international race held in the heart of the Valpolicella region. It's always held on the day after Pasquetta (which is the day after Easter) and today was the 47th edition of the race. Previous winners include Francesco Moser (winner 1970), Giovanni Battaglin (1971), Roberto Visentini (1975), Dimitri Konychev (1987), Alessandro Bertolini (1992 and 1993, the only two time winner), Mirko Celestino (1995), Fabian Cancellara (2000) and Yaroslav Popovych (2001). This year there were 33 teams (maximum of 6 riders) representing Italy, England, Austria, Australia, Russia, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Croatia and Spain.

A brisk morning, with a low of -1C, turned into a beautiful day. I'm sure the riders were pleased that the 133 kms would be run under perfect weather. I decided to wear a Stars and Stripes jersey as many know me as "il americano".

Arriving in Negrar I first ran into Francesco Moser. Moser's lasting accomplishment was in 1984 when he broke the 1972 Hour record of Eddy Merckx. In 1984 he also also won Milan-San Remo and the Giro d'Italia. Among his other victories are 3 consecutive Paris-Roubaix, and Road World Champion.

The race has all the fanfare of a big-time professional race, here the Swiss team signs in

The team presentations. The eventual winner, Gianluca Brambilla (1st left) came from this team, Zalf Desiree Fior
The serious bikes, here's one with SRM and LIGHTWEIGHT wheels

The beautiful setting in Valpolicella

The strong legs needed for the hard climb out of Negrar (in the distance in the 2nd photo) with its pitch of 20% which they get to do 5 times

After that the riders are surely praying for help; next comes the descent that was clocked at 97km/h today

After the last climb Daniela and I rode down into Negrar to find a spot to watch the finish and we did some clowning around

The winner, Gianluca Brambilla, in the last 50 meters with a 1 minute lead, and tears in his eyes. He can't believe it

The awards presentation


  1. Great job in your blog and fantastic win for Brambilla. Are you 'dilettanti'?


  2. No, just an old guy enjoying the cycling life in Italy.

  3. Angelo,

    I love the pix of the countryside, cycling, and friends, but many of them don't expand to full size. What gives?

    Also, Google translates 'dilettanti' as 'amateurs'. Is there another slang meaning us Yanks need to know?

  4. Love the pix of Italian cycling scene, countyside, friends, etc., but many of them don't expand to full size. What gives?

    Plus, Google translates 'dilettanti' as 'amateurs'. Is there another slang meaning we should know about?

  5. I don't know why some photos don't expand. I'll have to get blogger help. Yes, dilettanti means amateur (as in non-professional).