Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book: Goggles & Dust: Images from Cycling's Glory Days

During the 1920s and 1930s, cycling was the world's most popular sport. The races were impossibly difficult, the riders larger than life. All of Europe anticipated every race report in breathtaking newspaper accounts. This September, newly restored photographs in Goggles & Dust: Images from Cycling's Glory Days celebrate the grit and determination of bicycling's earliest heroes. Goggles & Dust is available now in bookstores, bike shops, and online. Preview a selection of the book's vintage cycling photographs at www.velopress.com/goggles.

Ottavio Bottecchia, Eugène Christophe, Henri Pélissier, André Leducq, René Vietto-the daring spirit of these cycling pioneers was perhaps matched only by the remarkable photographers who prevailed in all conditions to capture striking portraits of the racers at work and play.

Curated from the original silver gelatin prints in The Horton Collection, the gorgeous restored portraits and landscapes in Goggles & Dust-most unseen since their original publication in the newspapers and magazines of the day-provide an indelible record of a more carefree and adventurous time.

Goggles & Dust: Images from Cycling's Glory Days
The Horton Collection
Hardcover with 100 photographs throughout
8" x 7", 120 pp., $16.95, 9781937715298

* Drawn from over 170,000 original vintage cycling photographs in The Horton Collection
* Features fine-art quality photographs from cycling's early history
* Carefully restored, preserving their authenticity
* Priced affordably as a gift for photography and cycling enthusiasts

The Horton Collection is one of the world's finest collections of cycling memorabilia. Over the course of twenty-five years, Shelly and Brett Horton have amassed an unprecedented 15,000 objects and 170,000 original vintage cycling photographs. Their passion for the sport and its legacy have led them to the world's greatest races, and many of the sport's living legends have entrusted their own treasures to the care of The Horton Collection. See artifacts from The Horton Collection at www.hortoncollection.com.

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com.

Monday, September 15, 2014

2015 Giro d'Italia Returns to Madonna di Campiglio

Announced today in Trento was news of the upcoming 2015 Giro d’Italia stage which will be decisive for the general classification. The Corsa Rosa confirmed that, for the second time in its history and for the first time in 16 years, a stage finish line would be in Madonna di Campiglio.

In 1999 the winner was Marco Pantani, making this his final Giro d’Italia stage win. The 2015 finish line will be higher than previously, making this stage and the final climb even more challenging for the riders. This will be stage 15 of the race, Sunday, 24 May, starting from Marostica. The Trentino area will host the rest day on Monday, 25 May and the start of the following stage on Tuesday, 26 May from Pinzolo.

The Giro d’Italia 2015 starts on 9 May and ends on 31 May.

MAROSTICA – MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO 165km – 3900 meters of total climbing
A very demanding stage. It starts from Marostica, city of the living chess event and of the 1981 Giro winner, Giovanni Battaglin. After a flat section, the road climbs towards to the Asiago plateau, crossing Breganze and Thiene. The Asiago plateau is one of the iconic areas of the First World War – the race will be held on the 100th anniversary of the Italian declaration of war – in an area in which battles were fought from the first day of the war itself.

Going towards Valdastico, the entry to the Trentino area will be through part of the Passo del Sommo climb. The riders don’t tackle the whole length of the climb, but turn left near La Fricca (KOM) and Vigolo Vattaro, heading toward Trento, until arriving close to the Buoncosiglio Castle, another iconic area of both the Irredentism period and of the First World War.

The race will then reach Comano Spa and enter the start of the Rendena valley, where it will bend towards the small villages of Preore and Binio to climb, for the first time in the history of the Giro, the very demanding Passo Daone, with its incline that averages 9% and peaks at 14%.

After a technical descent the race will reach Pinzolo, and the start of the final climb. There is an average gradient of 6-7% for almost the whole ascent until the riders reach Madonna di Campiglio, 2km from the finish line.The last section is the most demanding – with double digits gradient – until the finish in Patascoss, a location famous for being the start of 3Tre alpine skiing course, which has hosted such legendary winners as Thöni, Stenmark and Tomba.

L-R Giro Director Mauro Vegni with Maurizio Frondriest

Maurizio Fondriest, Road World Champion in 1988, commented in Trento, "It's certainly going to be an important stage in the 2015 giro. Madonna di Campiglio is a well known climb that can be climbed at a regular pace. The less well known climb is Passo Daone, which is highly demanding both on ascent and descent. This highly technical section could be the perfect ramp to launch the stage-winning attack."

Photo: Lapresse

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Giovanni Pinarello Story: "One Good Frame...Deserves Another"

Re-visiting a story we published in 2010, Kimberly B. writes about her cycling trip with Eros Poli and meeting Giovanni Pinarello:

One Good Frame...Deserves Another
Meeting the Inspirational Giovanni Pinarello

This summer I had the good fortune of chasing down my dream of climbing Mount Ventoux (on my bicycle). I signed up for a trip with Eros Poli, recommended by my friends. I had heard so many inspirational things about Eros Poli – the least of which was that he won the Mt. Ventoux stage in the Tour de France in 1994. Two friends from my cycling group, The Bedminster Flyers also signed up for the trip. We were excited to experience the epic climbs Telegraph, Galibier, Glandon and of course Ventoux. So, I signed up, with two goals in mind, one to make it up Mount Ventoux and the second, to come home with a story for the Italian Cycling Journal.

Our trip began with getting our bikes. Did I mention we were riding brand new Pinarellos? I rode a beautiful red Prince – a complete carbon fiber frame with Campagnolo components. I had always loved Pinarello frames and owned a Pinarello steel Stelvio that I used when racing. But this bike was something different and I was quite sure that the bike would make up for my lack of training and of course – my age (La Gallina Vecchia)! My friends tried to reassure me by reminding me of the famous Italian saying, “La Gallina Vecchia fa buon brodo (The old hen makes the best broth).”

As the trip started I remembered the story of my first Pinarello bike – the beautiful blue Stelvio frame which I still own. When I was racing I had always wanted a Pinarello frame but could not afford it. Then, a strange series of events took place. I was in a small fender bender and the driver who hit me decided to pay the expenses for my car out of pocket – to the tune of $1,200.00. This was the exact amount I needed for the Pinarello Stelvio frame I had always wanted. So, I did what any good cyclist would do... I drove directly to the bike shop, handed over the money and placed the order for the gorgeous frame. I was fortunate enough that the mechanic at the shop offered to build the bike for me with used parts from his old racing bike so that the rest of the bike wouldn’t cost so much. I was thrilled, and it made driving around with a dent in my station wagon that much less difficult.

I shared my story with my friends on the tour and it made riding the Pinarello Prince that much more meaningful. In addition, we were ending our trip with Pinarello Granfondo Cycling Marathon which started in Treviso, Italy. Eros Poli was sponsored by Pinarello as a racer and knew the family well. He brought us to their beautiful shop in Treviso where we met Giovanni Pinarello himself! I was in awe! I couldn’t believe I had the chance to meet him and his family too. Mr. Pinarello was very gracious, kind, humble, and generous – it was an honor to meet him.

Later, after the marathon was over, we saw Giovanni Pinarello again. I was eager to have a picture of him to keep along with the other Pinarello stories that seemed to weave themselves into my life. Eros saw Giovanni sitting with a friend and asked him if I could take my picture with him. He agreed. I had just finished the marathon and was covered with mud, sweat, energy drink, and probably lots of biscotti crumbs too – but didn’t want to miss my chance. I walked over with my Pinarello Prince and then Giovanni looked at Eros and said “She has a beautiful frame!” Eros, pointed to my bike and said, “Oh Yes, the bike!” and Giovanni said, “No, Her!” From then on, “The Frame” became my new nickname.

So there it is, my Italian Cycling Journal story. I felt so blessed to meet Gioavanni Pinarello – especially given the way I felt about that steel Stelvio frame. I also felt so privileged to ride up Mount Ventoux with the encouragement and inspiration of Eros Poli, a world champion, gold medalist and Tour de France stage winner. The miracles within the whole trip still astound me! And honestly, I don’t mind saying that being called a “beautiful frame” by a man with an eye for designing revolutionary racing frames made the broth that much better!

Wishing you great climbing, a chance to ride a Pinarello frame, and the chance to be with inspirational cycling heroes from all over the world!

Kimberly, The Frame

P.S. I recently found out that Valentino Rossi – the famous Italian motorcycle racer also referred to himself as La Gallina Vecchia, which made me feel a bit better too! And, I did make it to the summit of Mont Ventoux (Eros and I):

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Giovanni, “Nani”, Pinarello Dies at 92

Giovanni Pinarello , the eight of twelve brothers, died yesterday in Treviso.

This is an older "history of Pinarello" (appeared here) that takes his life up to the 1990s:

He was born in Catena di Villorba in 1922. He was born at a time when life could be rather difficult, which was not uncommon, for many families ot the humble, and peasant backgrounds, in the rural farming areas of Veneto. The struggles of a simple farming life, as well as surviving the hardships of both World Wars, greatly effected an influenced the life of Giovanni Pinarello and his family. His impoverished and simple upbringing was not able to extinguish a passion Giovanni discovered he hard for the "Two Wheels".

With his determination and his love for the bicycle, Giovanni was able to make his dream come true. He made it possible to borrow whatever he needed to become part of the world of cycling. So at the age of seventeen, he began competing in the junior's category. Giovanni's dream soon became a reality and his passion began to bring him many victories. In 1947, after winning over sixty titles as an amateur, he became a member of the professional world of cycling. He was part of the professional cycling world until 1953, with five wins to his mention. With the end of this cycling career, the birth and realization of yet another of Giovanni's passions arose, the PINARELLO (the bicycle).

The making of the Pinarello began in Catena di Villorba, towards the end of the 1940's. The roots of Pinarello can be traced back to the beginning of WW II. This is when, at the age of fifteen, Giovanni began making bicycles at the factory of Paglianti. He continued making bicycles throughout his amateur cycling career. Bicycle manufacturing for the Pinarello family can be traced as far back as 1922, when Giovanni's cousin Alessandro was already making bicycles in a small factory. The beginning of this manufacturing was signified with a gold medal and a diploma in his recognition, given at the prestigious Milan Bicycle Fair of 1925.

In 1952 an opportunity presented itself to Giovanni Pinarello as a direct result of a major disappointment in his cycling career. The opportunity was for him to become an integral part of the very beginning ot the manufacturing world of bicycles in Treviso. The disappointment was that he had to give up his first love and passion, bicycle racing.

In 1952, Giovanni was presented with the dilemma of having to give up the chance to participate in the very prestigious Giro d'Italia. He was to be replaced to make way for the up and coming new star, Pasqualino Fornara. Giovanni had no choice in the matter. His sponsor, Bottecchia, offered him 100,000 Lire, a great deal of money for the times. That loss later became his fortune, career, and success, with the beginning and opening of the first and most renowned bicycle store in Treviso.

Pinarello was fortunate to be in a very economically prosperous area of Italy. This area was also synonymous with cycling and known for its manufacturing excellence. His intuition told him to take advantage of the opportunity that presented itself, and to be part of the world of team sponsorship. At first he began by helping to promote and advertise for small local teams. He also aided in the survival of the teams with whatever they needed to be able to participate in the competitive and expensive world of racing.

The first team to participate in a national competition with a Pinarello bicycle was la Padovani, in 1957. This marked the beginning of sponsoring many bicycle teams. Sponsorship was a very important and crucial vehicle in the recognition and promotion of the Pinarello name. It also helped to promote his bicycle store in Treviso.

In 1960 came the sponsoring of the first professional team, the Mainetti, which developed and produced many champion cyclists of the area. In 1966 the success of Guido de Rosso truly made a difference for Pinarello in the professional wordl of cycling. His victory in the Tour d'Avenir in France put the Treviso on the cycling map. This was the first international victory for Pinarello.

The first victory at the Giro d'Italia in 1975 by Fausto Bertoglio (Jolly Ceramica team), was another very important victory that boosted the fame and substance of the Pinarello reputation. After many years of team affiliations in the professional field, this was an instant and sensational result from the Jolly Ceramica team since their partnership only began in 1974. The final victory and other particular success at the Giro of 1975 were significant in putting the Pinarello name over the top. Until recently, Pinarello has never experienced such frame and notoriety. The name was now visible through the media having exposure through the television and began to be recognized for its exclusive artistic performance. The decade of the 80's proved to be quite fruitful with many victories in the field of cycling.

In 1980 Pinarello affiliated itself with Inoxpran, the leader in the development of stainless steel (also known for its specialty kitchen accessories). Inoxpran was in part responsible for revitalizing the once victorious cycling athletes that made up the Jolly team. They began the season with very promising riders, and a very experienced team, captained by Giovanni Battaglin. For the first time since Pinarello had begun sponsoring various professional teams, the Pinarello logo was finally seen on the team jersey as an official sponsor, alongside Inoxpran. This team was one of an extremely competitive caliber, which right from its beginnings was victorious in many races of international status. The year 1981 proved to be an extraordinary season for this power house of a team. Among its numerous victories, they captured two of the most distinguished international races, the Vuelta di Spagna and the Giro d'Italia.

Another enormous boost to Pinarello's popularity came in the 1984 Olympics. A U.S. rider by the name of Alexi Grewal took home the gold medal on a Pinarello bicycle.

Throughout the years the Pinarello victories continued, making it possible for many successful partnerships. One of these teams was Banesto, of which the Spanish champion Miguel Indurain was a team member, made the Pinarello the team bicycle.

Indurain was just an amateur then but would ride a Pinarello to victories at five Tour de France's, two Giro d'Italia's, an Olympic victory, a world time trial championship, an hour record, and many other international victories.

With the recognition obtained at the Giro d'Italia with Indurain in '92 and '93, and even with the victory of Chioccioli in '91, the victory that most stands out is the first Tour de France win in 1988 with Pedro Delgado of the Reynolds team (later called Banesto).

It was during Pinarello's partnership with many professional teams that the Pinarello name became associated with many important Italian teams, such as the Del Tongo team from '88 to '91 and the Mercatone Uno team from '92 to '95. Among the many victories of the above mentioned partnerships, the one that remains the most important is the one formed in '91 with Chioccioli of the Del Tongo.

In addition to the long Tours, the numerous and extraordinary successes of Cipollini, the most internationally well-known "sprinter" have greatly contributed to the popularity of the Pinarello name and deserve to be remembered.

Cipollini has in fact, together with Indurain, have been a famous testimonial of Pinarello's advertising compaigns. More recently, the success of the current teams, particularly Telekom, Brescialat and Banesto, should be mentioned.

In 1996 and 1997, Telekom achieved remarkable results, becoming one of the most well-known teams in the world, with unexpected successes including the victory of Riis and the second place of Ullrich in the Tour de France in 1996.

The success of Pinarello has been reconfirmed in the seasons 1997 with the 6th consecutive victory in the Tour de France and in 1998 with the second place of Jan Ullrich always in the Tour de France. 

Rest in Peace.

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Road to Mont Blanc from Conegliano, Italy, to Chamonix, France

The Road to Mont-Blanc
"The high mountains are a mysterious and unpredictable place offering a moment of escapism to experience life amidst a journey of new and unknown limits. On August 4th 2014 Mavic road ambassador Mike Cotty faced his toughest challenge yet, a 1,000 kilometer non-stop journey across the Dolomites, Eastern Alps and Swiss Alps including 21 mountains and over 21,000 meters of climbing, or the equivalent of ascending Mount Everest nearly 2.5 times in a single ride. Battling adverse weather conditions in the Dolomites and a punishing headwind for the final 500 kilometres meant that Mike had go above and beyond the realms of normality to overcome sleep deprivation from over 50 hours of continuous cycling whilst battling the elements on The Road to Mont Blanc from Conegliano, Italy, to Chamonix, France.........."

Read the rest of the story here.

A few photos from story:
Passo San Baldo
Passo Duran
Passo Giau
Passo dello Stelvio

The full length video:

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IL LOMBARDIA 2014: New 254km Route, Over 3,000 m of Climbing

Details of the 108th Il Lombardia were announced this morning, with the race running over a completely revised, 254km route between Como and Bergamo.

The UCI WorldTour road cycling race, held on the 5th of October and organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport, will also take in over 3,000m of climbing.

25 teams of 8 riders have also been announced for the"Race of the Falling Leaves" ("classica delle foglie morte"); the race is one of the five "monuments" of the one day classics.

Starting in Como, the autumn classic will take in the villages of Cantù, Erba, Asso and Onno before hitting Bellagio at 58km and the start of the Madonna del Ghisallo (754m), a beautiful and challenging 10.6km climb with gradients over 14 per cent.

The race will then continue through Asso, Pusiano, Oggiono, Galbiate and the first feeding zone at Pescate before the Alta Brianza and Meratese areas and into the Bergamo province in Calusco d’Adda.

After a first passage through the city of Bergamo, the race will begin a loop back with a series of testing climbs that will decide the final winner.

Riders will then face the Colle dei Pasta (413m), Colle Gallo (763m) and, after the second feeding zone in Cene, the Passo di Ganda (1060m), which featured in the 18th stage of Giro 2011.

After a fast descent through Selvino and Rigosa towards the bottom of the valley, the road will climb back towards Bracca (600m) and take in the technical descent towards Zogno and Brembilla. Riders will then begin the classic climb of Berbenno (695m), just 26km from the finish.

A fast descent towards Almenno San Salvatore takes the riders through Almè and back to Bergamo to face the final kilometres through the old Città Alta to the finish on the Sentierone.

The route to the finish line climbs towards Bergamo Alta, entering at Porta Garibaldi, up the Boccola ascent and its 200m of cobblestones towards Largo Colle Aperto, a climb that doesn’t drop below 10%, and includes peaks of 12%. The final descent is wide with a flat surface.

The final two kilometers takes in three technical turns, a 90 degree bend at 1800m with the road narrowing under Porta Sant’Agostino, a left turn at 1000m and at 250m from the line, driving towards the grand finale.

25 teams, 18 UCI ProTeams and 7 wildcards will start, each with 8 riders:

FDJ.fr (FRA)

2004 – Damiano Cunego (ITA)
2005 – Paolo Bettini (ITA)
2006 – Paolo Bettini (ITA)
2007 – Damiano Cunego (ITA)
2008 – Damiano Cunego (ITA)
2009 – Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
2010 – Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
2011 – Oliver Zaugg (SUI)
2012 – Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP)
2013 – Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP)

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com.