May 25, 2016 – Trentino, Italy
Yesterday was a banner day. There’s no getting around it. Even for a non-cyclist like me, it was special. Watching my husband fulfill a dream (actually more like a fantasy, not the sort of thing you ever actually expect to happen in real life,) was beyond words. Thus, this lazy, exhausted writer will rely heavily on photos here to describe the experience.
Through equal parts luck, skill, and overflowing Italian hospitality, Matt – a non-professional, yet frequently-competitive cyclist – was invited to ride yesterday’s stage of the Giro d’Italia with Italian cycling legend Francesco Moser, (winner of the 1984 Giro.) The Banca Mediolanum group, which included other famed cyclists and sports champions, rode the route from Cles to Andalo, (a small alpine town that is the hometown of Moser,) coming across the finish line about twenty minutes before the day’s first competitors.
Imagine running through the streets of Philly with Rocky.
That’s the way Matt described riding the road to Andalo with Moser. Giro fans lined the streets, unfurling colorful banners and signage, along the route. When they caught sight of their hero, the air vibrated with cheers and admiration.
Here are a few pics from the day’s festivities:
Patiently waiting at the finish line to catch sight of Francesco Moser’s group.
The whole family is here! Fashion ala Giro d’Italia.
Matt snaps selfie of Moser’s Banca Mediolanum group ready to ride at the beginning of Giro d’Italia.
Cycling mates for the day including Giro d’Italia champion Francesco Moser, downhill ski champion Aksel Lund Svindal, and World Cycling Champion Maurizio Fondriest.
My feeble attempt to catch our riders coming across the finish. They are so damn fast!
“There he is, American cyclist, Matt Simpson!” Surely, that’s what the pointing guy is saying, right? (Matt is easy to spot, he’s the tallest cyclist.)
Today the hills around Andalo were alive with music and festivity.
Our perch in the hospitality area beside the finish line.
Craft beers from Birra del Bosco overflowing.
Scene from the VIP hospitality tent beside the finish line, filled with past and present sports champions and acclaimed sports writers.
Crowded around the press tent, post ride.
Cycling legend Aldo Moser looks on as his brother crosses the finish.
Giro dreams come true. How happy does this guy look?
Still in the coveted Maglia rosa, leader Kruijswijk stops by for mandatory medical testing post race.
Nothing says the day is finished quite like the sweeper.
Just in case you haven’t heard…today, I take the maglia rosa!
Contemplating the day’s events, with a cold brew, of course.
Happy and grateful in Andalo.
Matt and I owe a huge thanks and debt of gratitude to the Moser and Giacomelli families for their endless hospitality and kindness.
Cycling Extravaganza, Part I – Maratona dles Dolomites
Francesco Moser Leads Americans on Epic Ride
Trentino Cycling Camp, Summer 2016