When the protective gods are important, one can rest easy. That's how it's been since the beginning of time.
Giro-E stage number 3, from Alba to Canale: The weather in the morning is not the best, but in the land where writers such as Cesare Pavese (Santo Stefano Belbo, grazed by the Giro d’Italia) and Beppe Fenoglio (Alba, lovely town of departure) were born, where Carlin Petrini was born and founded, in 1986, Slow Food, which started as an association but was already an idea, an inspiration, or rather a philosophy of life that was being cleared through customs for the first time and, in those excessive, frenetic, somewhat senseless 1980s in which drinking was a way of meeting rather than tasting, introduced the concept of slowness with an efficacy that had not belonged, not for their lack, to illustrious men such as Milan Kundera, for example.
In short, it is a stage of authentic beauty, of the countryside, of good drinking, of great literature, of slow living and travelling, immersed in landscapes unique in the world, among shy people whose character reflects that of the territory, where everything is whispered and never shouted, authentic and concrete. There could be no better way than by bicycle to literally savour the sensations that this territory offers. And what the Giro-E gave its participants was in fact this, an immersion in an idea, a scent, with Alba at its centre, travelled and retraced in search of the route of the Giro d’Italia, on which the electric cyclists grafted themselves after just 34 of the 79.6 kilometres in total of this stage. Amongst other things, in the most beautiful part of the Corsa Rosa route, its final move with a finisseur finish. The fatigue counter, which in uphill stages is given by the metres of elevation gain, was 1500 metres today. It required tuned engines and well-charged batteries, but it was worth it for the scenery, the impressions and, as mentioned, the deities and all.
The character of the day missed out on all this beauty and intensity, because he actually rode yesterday for the Sara Assicurazioni special team. But his story is so beautiful, and he is so likeable, that we take the liberty and even the pleasure of presenting him today, when he has already returned home. Besides, probably pedalling.
He is 47 years old, his name is Emiliano Cantagallo and he has climbed the Zoncolan 110 times. But, he says, this was not his greatest achievement. “No, it was setting up a hotel: the only hotel in the world reserved for families of cyclists. If you come and you don’t have at least one bike in your family, you can’t stay. It’s in Carnia, under the Zoncolan, that I stop once a week, on Saturdays”.
What is the Zoncolan?
“It’s a sentence to be served. That’s what they say. For me it’s a friend. I know it by heart, metre by metre. I accompany all types of cyclists to the top, from the strong cyclists who do the Granfondo to the older cycling tourists. Climbing it is now normal for me.