More than 1,500 cyclists took part in the Eroica Montalcino, the vintage cycling tourism event now known as the Spring edition of the Eroica. What took place on the 26 May was a little tour effected by the cycling community through the Val d’Orcia, a Unesco heritage site, since it involved cyclists from 15 different countries comprising Japan, Australia and Canada.
The finish line in Piazza del Popolo, Montalcino, with the athletes looking satisfied despite their evident exhaustion, presented a picture which effectively encapsulates the spirit of the event: sweat, fatigue, passion, friendship and beauty. Timing is of no importance and there are no winners, just a desire to be part of a great and authentic celebration. In addition, the bad weather which brought rain and mud, effectively endorsed the concept of this heroic feat.
The entire town of Montalcino was involved: from the old town centre decorated for the occasion, with its shopkeepers who had entered a competition for the “best Eroica window display” and the restaurateurs who displayed their creative talent in the form of an “Eroico” dish, to the historical town districts of Montalcino, whose inhabitants all attended a celebrative dinner on the eve of the event. The actual cycling event witnessed the participation of the company teams of Brunello Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona and Banfi and, for the first time ever, there was also a delegation from the Consortium of Vino Brunello di Montalcino, captained by Mara Mosole, former Italian champion of early asphalt and white road cycling events.
“The Eroica is a form of magic which transforms a terrible rainy day into a splendid adventure you will remember for the rest of your life – declares Franco Rossi, Vice President of Eroica Italia – the sight of the cyclists smiling at the finish line, despite being covered in mud up to their eyebrows, amply repays all the hard work and sacrifice”. “This has been a fantastic day – adds Giancarlo Brocci, the mind behind the Eroica – the streaks of mud on the cyclists faces have made everything quite harmonious and heroic. This is what Eroica is all about: mud, sweat and fatigue. But so much joy that everyone would be ready to do it all again tomorrow”.
This year’s testimonial is the two-time winner of Giro d’Italia, Damiano Cunego, who pedalled steadily along the white road and then took part in a 46 km route to evoke the mythical stage of Giro d’Italia 2010, which finished in Montalcino where he crossed the line in second place. “It was an incredible day. I didn’t manage to win it but 10 years on, people still remember that heroic race”, recounts Cunego who, now that he no longer cycles professionally, can happily indulge in a glass of Brunello. “Why not, there are so many marvellous products in Montalcino, it would be a crime not to taste it!”.