Friday, August 22, 2014

Climbing the Barricata

The area around Bassano Del Grappa is famous for being cycling heaven. A multitude of mountains to climb by bike can quickly fill ones itinerary, from Cima Grappa (and the 7 ways to ascend the mountain) to Foza, Conco, Cima Campo, etc.

This past week during a vacation there I was taken on a new mountain road, the Barricata (The Barricade). My Italian hosts didn’t quite prepare me for the ascent, just telling me that the road goes up, then flattens out a bit and then gets steep. Well OK.

My ride began on the road next to the Brenta River, and they dropped me off in Campolongo Sul Brenta as I wanted a few extra miles. They were going to start in Vastagna, up the road. Eventually we met up at the entrance to the Pista Ciclabile at the foot of the climb to the town of Enego.

From here we made our way to the Bici Grill, just about 5 kilometers down the road, a wonderful oasis for cyclists to grab a cappuccino and brioche, which we did.
Bici Grill

Then we continued on the bike trail until we turned off to start our ascent of Il Barricata. My friend and his wife took off their helmets as it was a hot day and he took off his shirt as well and stuffed it into his helmet. I did neither and began the climb, which starts off at about 3 or 4% grade.

Cesare explained that the road is somewhat new, and so steep that cyclists are not allowed to descent, only go up. Also that cars were not allowed on the road unless they were residents and had a permit..

With each hairpin turn I saw the now familiar signs that said Tornante 1, etc. But what they don’t tell you is how many there are. I know Enego is 17 and that Cima Grappa is 28. Enego takes me an hour and a 15 minutes and Grappa takes me 2.5 hours.

At turn 10 I was wondering how many more. And with each turn I kept wondering.

The last few kilometers were quite steep. (Looking it up later the last few kilometers were pretty much all over 14% grade. Steep indeed. In fact the average grade is 8% for the whole 9 miles. I think it took me 2 hours. I was ahead of my hosts by perhaps 10 or 15 minutes.

For the record there are 23 turns.

I took a photo and took in the sights across the valley. The Marcesina Valley. A few twisty roads and some farmhouse retreats for dining.

We stopped for a panino and then made the trip down to the town of Enego, and descended there – and followed the Brenta river road back to the car.

Cesare told me that this climb is one of the steepest in the area.

I believed him.


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Thanks to Doug R. for the information on this new climb.

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, August 15, 2014

Robin Williams and Dario Pegoretti: The Comedian and the Bike Builder

http://online.wsj.com/articles/robin-williams-and-dario-pegoretti-the-comedian-and-the-bike-builder-1407970079

Photo: Above Category

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, August 11, 2014

Goal: 400 Ascents of the Passo Gavia


Seventy-six year old Tarcisio Persegona, from Parma, has the current record of 392 ascents of the Gavia Pass and has no intention of stopping . His goal is to complete his 400th ascent by the end of the summer.

In 2013, Tarcisio made 45 ascents of the Gavia, and 19 times he rode both sides on the same day.

Here is a short review of the ascent from both sides, with photos: www.cycling-challenge.com/passo-gavia-both-sides

Here, in ICJ, is the story of the epic Gavia snow stage of the 1988 Giro d'Italia in which American Andy Hampsten, the second place finisher, became the overall race leader and went on to win the Giro: www.italiancyclingjournal.blogspot.com/2013/05/recalling-1988-giro-ditalia-hampstens.html

Photo: TuttobiciWeb

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.   



Sunday, August 3, 2014

Rarity: the Campagnolo Tennis Racquet


In the 1974 Campagnolo catalog, No. 17, there is an image (above) on page 9 of a tennis racquet with this text:

"Campagnolo also produces articles for the gifts and sports trades. Among the former let us remember the  patented giant cork-screws permitting even the most resistant corks to be easily and safely extracted, and the nut-crackers, which do not break but do crack the nuts.

With the latter are now included tennis rackets made of special ultralightweight alloys."

In the past we have had blog entries about the corkscrews and nutcrackers. In this entry from 2010 we featured a rare gold nutcracker and mentioned that we had yet to ever see the tennis racquet mentioned int he 1974 catalog. We wondered if it actually existed.

This week the owner of such a racquet contacted me and has permitted me to use the photos of it. The owner wrote, "My husband and I owned a bicycle shop in Seattle called "The Cyclery" in 1973 and the racquet was given to us by Campy. It was never strung and used. It has the name Condor on it, has a white cover, was made in Italy, and has Campagnolo stickers on each side."

We'll reach out to Campagnolo to see if we can learn about the Condor branding.

If you use the photos please credit:
Italian Cycling Journal, http://www.italiancyclingjournal.blogspot.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.   

Saturday, August 2, 2014

PANTANI : The Accidental Death Of a Cyclist [2014] Full Length

On youtube here.



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, July 30, 2014

2015 Giro d'Italia: First 3 Stages


Saturday 9 May – TTT Riviera dei Fiori 18km approx.
The opening stage will be the first Grand Tour stage to take place solely on cycle paths. Teams will race along the Riviera dei Fiori cycle path, which is built on a former coastal rail route, and gives panoramic views of the Mediterranean coast. Its rolling hills will create a fast race. Both ends of the course will be familiar to many riders; the annual Cipressa climb begins each March from San Lorenzo al Mare; and the stage’s finish line is also used by the Milan-San Remo spring classic route, which also begins in March.

Sunday 10 May – Albenga – Genoa 150km approx. – sprinters’ stage
This stage has been created to deliver an exciting sprint finish in Genoa, Liguria’s capital city. The course will run for 120km alongside the Riviera di Ponente before entering the historic, UNESCO World Heritage city, where riders will race four loops of a 7.5km circuit. The race will be held on the Aurelia road and in the valleys of the Savona and Genoa provinces. The organizers have also added a climb to Stella, birthplace of Sandro Pertini, one of Italy’s most beloved presidents and first recipient of the UN’s Otto Hahn Peace Medal.
Major areas crossed: Albenga, Finale Ligure, Savona, Stella, Varazze, Voltri, Genoa

Monday 11 May – Chiavari – La Spezia 185km approx. – GC contenders stage
Stage three will be the first to test the riders and identify the GC contenders. Riders will face a series of hills between the coast and the inland areas of Levante Ligure. The race will be held on the Cinque Terre road, which was hit hard by torrential storms in 2012. The route has been designed as a relatively gentle introduction to the mountain stages, with a continuous series of climbs and descents to La Spezia. There a short city circuit will be raced before the reaching its climax on the top of the Biassa climb. Riders expected to begin their attack 10km before the finish line.
Major areas crossed: Chiavari, Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure, Sestri Levante, Carro, Levanto, the Cinque Terre, La Spezia.

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.    

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Acquarone vs RCS

Michele Acquarone, Managing Director at RCS Sport (owner of the Giro d'Italia, MSR, Il Lombardia, +) and director of the Giro d'Italia, was fired in November, 2013. He had been suspended in October, 2013, as a precautionary, "non-disciplinary", measure while an investigation of a shortfall of 13 million euro was taking place.

Today, I received the following from Michele:

"Today, at 10 am at the Court of Milan there was the first act of my legal battle against RCS Sport.

It was just a preliminary hearing, but it was very painful to find myself in front of the judge against my former company to which I have devoted my whole professional career.

I had worked for RCS for 14 years and, as you know, my employment was officially terminated last November, but everything has been done on the 1st of October 2014 when I was suspended and RCS hinted that I was responsible for the misappropriation of several million Euros.

Over the last 10 months I have always rejected any wrongdoing. I have a clear conscience and I know I had always worked with the greatest fidelity and diligence to grow in value and prestige those products and business that I have been entrusted with. And I always did it with excellent results much appreciated by both the market and RCS.

Even the day when the RCS Sport affair was exposing, on the 27th of September, RCS MediaGroup publicly gave me a renewed confidence and I was asked to take care of RCS Sport and the Giro during the upcoming investigation.

Then in the space of a weekend, RCS had a sudden change of direction. First the suspension then the public pillory. From that moment RCS big bosses have spoken to me no more. All of my contact attempts have fallen on deaf ears.

RCS managed the affair just using myself as a media scapegoat. They never gave an explanation of what happened. In 10 months there was only silence. Meanwhile, the defenestration of the Giro Director has had a growing international echo that slowly disintegrated my reputation. In parallel with my suspension RCS publicly announced the starting of an external audit. We never heard anything about that. The report by E&Y (Ernst & Young) that today was produced in court merely reconstructs the missing items, without even trying to understand how it was possible that more than 10 million Euros disappeared from the accounts of a listed company without anyone noticed anything abnormal.

I could accept losing my job that I loved, but I can not accept that RCS has dirtied my professional image built over many years of commitment and sacrifice, and that has always been based on honesty and respect.

In recent days I have read the statement of defense of RCS. They produced in court many documents in which my signature was obviously forged and which I promptly disowned. in the past months, when I asked RCS to show me documents and signatures they refused calling “pretentious” my request. This makes the affair even more shameful.

The RCS Sport affair is still under investigation by the prosecutor of Milan which I attended as a witness, Prosecutor has also my complaint for defamation against RCS.

Next hearing will be on the 1st of October 2014."
 

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.