I don't know how often I am asked for my thoughts on other events, routes, atmospheres and trends from the rest of the Eroica world.
I'm just back from Germany; this year I did Japan, Valkenburg, our Siena editions plus the Prosecco and Gran Sasso versions of NOVA. In my now extensive past, I have had the good fortune to ride them all and am looking forward to the launch of Eroica Cuba on 10 February 2024. But let no one touch Gaiole in Chianti, my Gaiole since I was a child and always, where everything was born because it probably could only have been born here. A little while ago, I celebrated the 50th anniversary of my first event – a junior cycling race; I expressed my gratitude to a whole world, to old friendships, to the cyclists of the time, to when, in our area, there was no party under the heavens that did not include a cycling race.
Gaiole is L'Eroica, with the capital L apostrophe. I remember our dear Andrea Meneghelli who knew a lot about brands, and he based much of our communication on that capital L. The other events would have another name, identifying their location; and the first was no less than Japan, way back in 2013. Then the others, a series of beautiful daughters, like the Planche of the Tour but where your team were always the winners. But the first weekend in October is the essential point of reference for a whole growing movement that knows no crisis in vocations, that inspires, proposes models, involves new cyclists, and has created brand new types of cycling. Gaiole is L'Eroica, for everyone in the known world. Every section of road, aspect, route, climb, landscape, food stop and chaos in Gaiole can be commented on. But in Gaiole, all the languages of the world are spoken and everybody understands. ‘Berrutian’ is the main language, although Berruti only spoke the Savona dialect. Brocci speaks a very Tuscan Italian, a little of Bartali's French, which everybody laughs at (respectfully) and practically nothing else. Yet, everyone understood us everywhere we went, not least in Gaiole in Chianti. We communicated to the world, because soul, eyes, gestures, smiles and feelings speak such a universal language that we never needed to bluff.
Oui, je suis Gaiole in Chianti.