Stage number 8 of the Giro-E 2022 is a Po Valley classic. Heat, scorching asphalt, long straights and flatter than flat plains. This is the Emilia region, a beauty that always shines, even when seen from the saddle of a bicycle.
The Castel San Pietro Terme – Reggio Emilia stage
77.5 kilometres, a 400-metre elevation gain. And as if that weren’t enough, there’s a bus transfer too. Something of an odd stage in which the motor becomes ephemeral, a dream-like helping hand (by law, on pedal-assisted e-road bikes the power cuts out above 25 kph) For the pros, this will be the longest stage of the Giro, 200+ kilometres (203 to be precise). For the Giro-E amateurs, its an immersion into that splendour called Emilia. Sooner or later you just have to jump on a bike and become one with this timeless landscape, this world beautifully evoked by singer-songwriter Paolo Conte (OK, he might have been born in Asti, but a citizen of the world knows loveliness when he sees it), this picture-postcard Italy.
The stage ends in Reggio Emilia: in the distance stand the bridges of Calatrava, in the city centre the aroma of Parmigiano Reggiano is in the air (this is the hometown of the famous cheese and the Consortium that protects it worldwide). It’s this happy coincidence of cycling and cheese (Giro & Parmigiano Reggiano) that has given rise to the first ‘food stage’ in the history of the Giro d’Italia. A tasty chunk of this glorious cheese and a glass of cool Lambrusco: a pleasure definitely worth pedalling over 200 kilometres for.
Rider of the day – Iader Fabbri
Author, popular science writer, renowned nutritionist: Iader Fabbri is covering a dual role at this year’s Giro-E 2022: as a nutritionist (he just had to be rider of the day on this food stage) and captain of the Enel X team.
“It’s a wonderful experience, something all-new for me, a Giro ridden from the heart,” says Iader. “It’s exciting to sweep under all the finishing banners of the Corsa Rosa, which just an hour later are reached by all the big Giro champions. As a nutritionist I follow many sportsmen and sportswomen, from football players to motorcyclists. So the Giro-E is really useful to me, as I love cycling and it gives me valuable insights into cycling-related nutritional issues. As the Enel X team, every day we meet a new team, people with a shared passion for cycling. What’s clear is that the battery doesn’t eliminate the need for effort. There might be an auxiliary motor, but this no moped or scooter. You’ve still got to pedal! The great thing is that you get to manage how much effort to put into it. We’ve had people pedal along with us and – a little masochistically – not even bother engaging the motor. I have to say, they had to struggle quite a bit harder, as our bikes weigh a hefty 14-15 kilos; if you never use the motor, that weight has to be pedalled up the hills. Of course, if it’s full-on training you want, it’s the way to go. That said, the motors allow everyone to experience a great ride and stunning views, and that’s what counts. Compared to traditional cycling, there’s no real change in diet; it’s all linked to the intensity and duration of the stage. On the Blockhaus climb, proper nutrition was essential: we had to hydrate regularly, every 15-20 minutes, and fuel up on gels or energy bars. One thing’s for sure: the cyclists on the Enel X team are the best fed of the whole Giro-E!”.
Next update tomorrow, stage 9 of Giro-E, from Casella to Genoa.
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