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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Better of ED: WORLDS’13 Pez Vacationer Time!

“I’m by no means happier than once I’m writing.”
~ Ed Hood, as spoken to Martin Williamson from the passenger seat, driving alongside a stage route on the Tour de France.

Pricey Readers – Our beloved colleague and good friend Ed Hood suffered a severe stroke in February.  We don’t anticipate Ed will make it again into our bunch, so we’ve began a GoFundMe web page to assist Ed together with his future.  Learn the complete submit right here – and please contemplate donating.

** Click on this hyperlink to donate to the GoFundMe web page to assist Ed **

We’ll be posting a number of Ed’s work from the previous 16 years, as a result of nice story-telling by no means will get previous.

With one other Worlds below his belt and a day off earlier than flying house, Ed Hood had time to be a vacationer within the pretty city of Florence to expertise all that the city has to supply – in a biking form of means after all.

An ‘infernal journey’ the Gazzetta known as Sunday’s race, stating that it was the longest – when it comes to time on the bike – at 7 hours and 25 minutes since Sallanches in 1980 which was 7:32. They award 9.5 out of 10 to Vincenzo Nibali for his fourth place journey.

The paper, essentially the most vital voice in Italian sport, is fulsome in its reward of the Sicilian – how may they not be? He rode a person’s race – a medal would have been simply reward, however there are few pleased endings in professional biking.

Scarponi will get 9.5, Paolini 8.5 – that’ll assist with the ache of the brusing from his crash – Visconti 7, Vanotti 7, Santamorita and Ulissi 5.5 with Pippo and Nocentini on 5. Supervisor Paolo Bettini reckons he was punished by three of his boys – Nibali, Paolini and Scarponi – hitting the tar at a decisive second.

However the Gazzetta factors out that the nation’s second fourth place (after Pozzato’s in Geelong 2010) since 2008 – when Ballan received in Varese – is the longest medal ‘dry’ spell since 1937 – 1948; however then there was a conflict in between instances on that event.


A moist Monday morning in Florence, it took me 4 newsstands to get my Gazzetta – panic was setting in; however right here I’m awaiting my cappuccino and with the prospect of a day as a vacationer. Let’s hope the rain goes off – I had a yr’s value, yesterday.


The solar is out and straight throughout the highway from the cafe a poster catches my eye; the place else on the earth may you hearken to and watch a symphony orchestra play, with the efficiency devoted to the fun of the bike? The poster is cool, by no means thoughts the live performance.

And for all of the tradition, historical past and wonder, on this city you may’t neglect that Italy is the land of the scooter.


However having sat within the site visitors jams behind a cab and watched the meter climb, I can perceive why.

The Uffizi gallery accommodates the world’s finest assortment of Renaissance artwork – Florence was on the coronary heart of that rebirth – however a lot as I’d like to, there’s no time to hitch the queue.


Behind the Uffizi stands a reproduction of the well-known statue of David, carved from a strong 40 ton block of white marble right down to it’s present 19 tons by Michelangelo when nonetheless in his early 20’s. If the palms look too huge it’s as a result of it was designed to sit down excessive on a wall – which might have made them look in perspective. These Renaissance geniuses considered all the pieces.


Above him, the tower cranes conflict with the attractive previous stone towers.


The Ponte Vecchio is among the world’s most well-known bridges, in-built 1354 it’s lined with costly jeweller’s outlets – however finest seen from slightly additional down the River Arno.


Half means alongside it there’s a spot within the outlets the place stands a bust to son of Florence, Benvenuto Cellini who was a goldsmith, sculptor, author, artist, warrior – one of many authentic ‘Renaissance Males.’


Within the San Spirito space, not removed from the Ponte Vecchio, artisans train their expertise in workshops set beside the highway – and don’t thoughts an excessive amount of as you cease and stare.


There’s even a puppet workshop – pity a few of these guys on the UCI don’t have Pinocchio noses.

While the bicycle has at all times had a spot in Italian society, these days it’s made an actual comeback within the type stakes.


There are a variety of aggressive fixies round city, however for the extra conservative there’s little to beat a retro machine for cruising to your favorite wine bar or vintage store.


While lots of the window shows are in honour of the Mondiali, the message appears to be that “bikes promote product” with wine outlets getting in on the ‘Chianti Path’ act.



And lots of the hippest garments outlets have bikes, or bits of bikes, as important window dressing.


The Piazza della Repubblica is on the coronary heart of town; a splendid arch towers above a carousel and an enormous e book tent pitched within the centre of the sq..


Once more, bikes take centre stage as show objects draw the customer’s eye to volumes about Coppi and The Giro.

I’ve to take one final have a look at The Duomo, there are such a lot of footage you would take however I plump for one of many 28 bronze panels on the Baptistery North Doorways.


It took Lorenzo Ghiberti 21 years to make them.

An electronic mail arrives as I get pleasure from my final low-cost, easy, superbly introduced cappuccino earlier than heading again to the resort. I’d requested Ivan what the Belgian Media’s tackle the Worlds was, he tells me;

“They’re impressed with Rui Costa, he rode properly, an excellent rider and slightly bit underrated. The Belgians rode an honest however not particular race, Van Summeren, Pauwels and Monfort had been glorious; however the crew leaders had been simply not adequate within the remaining reckoning. It wasn’t the Gilbert of final yr; it was a pity about Leukemans who fell attempting to keep away from a crash even earlier than they reached the ending circuit, he harm his again and deserted.

Bakelants received caught up behind crashes, fell himself, breaking his shoe plate, needed to wait ages on the crew automobile, spent two laps chasing and was wasted, he informed Gilbert that he wouldn’t make it to the final lap. Van Avermaet was simply lower than it within the finale – the identical as Gilbert. They merely couldn’t observe the 4 GC climbers on the ultimate lengthy climb; which for a lot of riders was one kilometre too lengthy on that final lap.

Nibali was superb, the Spaniards had been strong. Carlo Bomans (Belgian supervisor) although, mentioned that the Spaniards did nothing all day and he was glad Costa received. They suppose Sagan has raced an excessive amount of, all over and that Cancellara mustn’t have ridden the ITT. Additionally they really feel that many riders feared the gap, the Belgians suppose 240K is lengthy sufficient for the Worlds – however it will depend on the parcours and the way the race is ridden. The Italians rode properly as a crew, actually solely they and the Spanish had a plan. Total they really feel Costa is an excellent winner – good for the game.”

A horrible day however all a part of what the Worlds are about . . .

The Italian ‘take’ to start out, the Belgian ‘take’ to shut – and one remaining factor. If you happen to’d have guess a grand on Rui Costa to win, on Saturday, you’d now be 25 grand the richer.

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