Some people might have got the idea that these sea-view rides in the warm sunshine and easy-going routes like today’s have little to do with the Giro d’Italia, that the Giro-E is a mere spin-off, a clone, an offbeat battery-powered version.
Well, they couldn’t be more wrong. Even in a title fight, a boxer will go through rounds where there are fewer incoming punches; so he’ll seize the opportunity to rest and ready himself for the flurry of blows to follow. It’s a wise person who knows how to enjoy every moment without continually wondering if they’re the best.
The Paola – Scalea (Riviera dei Cedri) stage
The event has now moved to mainland Italy. It’s snipped out an interminable (192 kilometre) section that the pro riders will have to take on and, as mentioned, it’s another coastline stage: 58.1 kilometres, a mere 1-star difficulty rating and just 600 meters of elevation gain (a molehill!). This, in short, is stage 3 of Giro-E 2022. Inside the peloton, though, they can already feel the fresh breeze wafting in from the Apennine peaks they’ll have to face tomorrow. And, meanwhile, the Blockhaus stage – scheduled for Sunday – is very much on everyone’s mind: a frightening elevation gain of 3,100 meters and a ‘cool’ 93 kilometers…. unless there’s some sort of uprising and the race director, Roberto Salvador, is forced to shorten it.
A few words about today’s start town, Paola. There is – for people who are a little less focused on the cycling – plenty to see. The Sanctuary dedicated to San Francesco da Paola, hermit monk, founder of the Order of Minims and patron saint of Calabria, is a must-see: it’s located up in the hilly part of the town. And don’t miss la fontana dei Sette Canali (the fountain of the Seven Canals), a monument built by local artists in 1636 that recalls the symbol of Paola, the peacock. The town has a rich past that stretches back to the Punic wars and its history has often been marred by plunder and devastation. Its redemption came with the feats of Garibaldi: it was from here that generals Bixio and Medici set sail in September 1860 to meet Garibaldi in Naples… which will, in a couple of days, be the finish line for our slightly less intrepid e-cyclists.
Rider of the day – Forciniti
No doubt about it: the stage 3 cyclist of the day is Rosalba Forciniti. A renowned Italian judo champ, this Cosenza-born star took the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics, silver at the European team championships and silver again at the Mediterranean Games. Believe it or not, this extremely likeable lady had never, until this morning, ridden a racing bike. Really.
“I have a kind of awkward relationship with bikes” she says. “I like cycling, but it’s a world away from my own sport. I learnt to ride when I was a kid, at just four, but then somehow lost touch with the whole thing. E-bikes are so, so convenient, to the point that I’m considering buying one to get around town. I live in chaotic Rome, where it can take 40 minutes to drive just two kilometres. And cycling’s good for the environment… all you burn off are calories. I’ve honestly never ridden a racing bike, today’s my first time, and I even chose a stage with a few hills. Why? Because I’m a lionheart, that’s why! With me, it’s to hell with it and full steam ahead!”.
Next update tomorrow, stage 4 of Giro-E, from Viggiano to Potenza.
Click here to see the Giro-E rankings.