This is the way Indro Montanelli, correspondent at Giro d’Italia, describes the two champions in the Corriere della Sera, on 20 May 1948. Two styles, two worlds; they were different even at the table.
At the time, the main concern was to beat hunger, not only in the saddle, but often in life too. The history of heroic cycling is full of anecdotes that are difficult to summarise in a few lines. A good one though is what Ottavio Bottecchia said to Bruno Roghi at the end of the Milan-Sanremo 1923. Bruno, pointing to Ottavio’s musette that is still full of food, asks him "... what about this?"Bottecchia answers in dialect "... ghéo porto a casa el sacheto.Lì da mì i mòre dè fame!" (I’m bringing the bag home, they’re starving in my house!).
A regular and balanced diet is certainly the basis for any sporting activity. Indeed, sports nutrition in the world of cycling - and of sport in general - has become a real science that can improve and sustain athletes' performance at all levels. The market also offers a huge variety of products for nutrition, and supplements - gels or bars – that are very useful aids to support even the most intense and prolonged efforts. Although they often make fine food lovers turn up their noses.
For amateurs (and not only) who are attentive to performance but do not want to give up on the tastes and simplicity of tradition, honey is a precious ally. Light and delicious, it draws all its characteristics directly from nature. It is suitable for consumption not only during sports activities - thanks to its high energy power due to the high concentration of fructose - but also in the recovery phase because it is rich in polyphenols which have an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibiotic, depurative, laxative and soothing power. But do read the label: to maintain its properties, honey must not undergo heat treatments. In fact, unpasteurized organic honey maintains all its nutrients and antioxidants and is rich in enzymes, proteins, vitamins and trace minerals.
Combined with cereals and dried fruit, - even better if organic - it is an ideal snack to keep in your pocket during a ride to tackle a sprint (something like the Alce Nero bar with organic spelt and almonds that is included in the NOVA Eroica race pack). It can also form the basis for tasty sweet (and savory!) recipes that are useful for regaining strength after a solid workout.
Mixed fruit tarts with Italian acacia Alce Nero honey and ricotta
Vegetable picalilli with acacia Alce Nero honey
From I forzati della strada hanno fame! Alimentazione e dieta nel ciclismo eroicoby Mario Cionfoli and Carlo Delfino, Marcianum Press