Stage 12: Siena – Bagno di Romagna. Like an old oak tree
In May 1928, Alfredo Martini was at the roadside in Pistoia, waiting for the peloton of the Giro d’Italia. His silver Francioni bicycle shone bright in the blinding diffuse light that was already a hint of summer. Catching sight of the mighty Binda clad in the rainbow jersey left the young Martini amazed and breathless. It was an awe-inspiring experience. He had waited so long to see him. What if that wasn’t real? But his idol was real, indeed. And Martini knew that cycling would never fail him.
In 1927, his father bought him his first bicycle, building up two months’ worth of savings – 420 lire – at the Ginori blast furnace in Colonnata, burning his hair and lungs while firing ceramics. In 2019, he had a cycle track named after him near the house where he used to live in Sesto Fiorentino – the turning point of a stage leading from Siena to the restorative thermal springs Valle del Savio. And all the while, riding a bicycle never once let him down. To begin, cycling gave him time for thought – both while riding and while waiting for the peloton to zip by, as quick as lightning.