I believe that Eroica owes something to Cuba.
Projects need passion, attention is drawn through civil tensions; the idea of improving the world a little is the basis of every undertaking where one does not just think about business.
The first time I went to Cuba in September 1989, the Berlin Wall was still up, and Gorbachev seemed to bring a message that could overcome wars, both hot and cold.
I was among those who were becoming skeptical about a certain type of politics and those who were turning it into a profession. I had already written a kind of political testament with which I distanced myself from the nascent caste. And it was with the proceeds of that first book, which remained unique in its genre, that I paid for my travel and stay. I joined the Brigada Josè Marti, doing voluntary work for the Revolucion or what was left of it.
I found it useful, it was a lesson in life. I was convinced that this was the right way to join the forgotten of the world, the peons, those who risked extinction because of money, the dross of history, the beasts of burden, the consumer masses. There was a myth to defend, an island that had made its own independent history just a stone's throw from the giant of the USA, an island that set an example for an entire continent of desaparecidos.
Just so you know, following this, I continued volunteering in various forms in the southern hemisphere, and it is from these experiences that the spirit of L'Eroica was born; the idea that an act of resilient courage was needed to preserve our sport and our territories.
Today? A whole other world, I stand proudly among the losers; a hemisphere has disappeared, Cuba is on its last legs and will change soon. This does not mean that it is not a formidable destination, a magical place where life still flows slowly, full of smiles despite the evident material poverty. We will hold Eroica Cuba, although the politics is now nothing more than romantic modern art, black and white Barbudos stuff, from when Gaul won the Giro and Bahamontes the Tour, two pure climbers, it would never happen again. Two routes, a few postcard views, among the palm trees, streets that are more red than white, the centre of Caimito, where the Campamiento used to be, the headquarters of my Brigada, and where even today we can stay in very spartan accommodation, to guarantee a price that facilitates the participation of many of our heroes from Italy.
This is all planned for Saturday 10 February 2024; because on Sunday the 11th we will cycle the 40 km to Havana, with many Cubans at our side, followed by those 1950s pre-revolution cars, a romantic world heritage. Just like Eroica and Cuba.