Only 37 kilometres, mostly downhill. This, in short (no pun intended), is stage 9 of Giro-E 2022. And as the riders glide down to the sea, they won’t be using the motors much either. From Casella, in the Genoa hinterland, the route arrives in the capital city of the Liguria region where a cool sip of white wine and a tasty bite of fügassa – the legendary Genoese focaccia – await.
The Casella – Genoa stage
The departure town, Casella, nestles in the heart of the Ligurian Apennines, on the valley floor of the River Scrivia, where the riverbed widens to form a basin. For many, this inland area is Liguria’s most authentic. Its big-hearted people couldn’t make you feel more at home, and the hills are criss-crossed with awesome trails for hikers and mountain bikers alike. And for longer treks, the Alta Valle dei Monti Liguri is a gem. Also worth a visit are the elegant Art Nouveau villas built during the 19th and early 20th centuries by the emerging Genoese bourgeois, who chose these lands – such as the nearby upper Genoese Trebbia Valley – for their summer holidays. On the food front, it’s all about tradition: there’s pansoti in walnut sauce, chestnut flour trofie, artichokes in imbrogliata and preboggion (a mix of boiled veg that’s then pan-fried with oil, garlic and an anchovy fillet).
The stage route is a simple one, mirroring the last 30 or so downhill kilometres of the pro Giro. Definitely a stage for those who don’t want to overdo it!
And if you want a few words on Genoa… well, just listen to Genoa per noi sung by Lauzi: no-one says it better.
Rider of the day – Alessandra Cappellotto
Only yesterday, she debuted as captain of the Trenitalia team (a day earlier than expected), taking over from Andrea Ferrigato who led the first eight stages. A former road cyclist and sports manager with 24 career victories, in 1997 Alessandra Cappellotto was the first Italian woman to become world road race champion after winning in San Sebastián. “Yes, that world title was something special all right. But I also rode 14 Tours de France, back when they still had a women’s race, 12 Giri d’Italia and two Olympics. I’ve also won two Italian championships… despite Wikipedia saying it’s only one! I still work in cycling: I established and run the women’s section of the professional riders’ association, the world female cyclists’ union. I’m also involved with the Road To Equality association, which helps female cyclists in emerging countries such as Rwanda, Nigeria, Morocco and Algeria. Last year we brought five women athletes from Afghanistan to Italy. It’s something I care deeply about. Through cycling I’m able to empower other women and help them enjoy a sport that is, in these countries, still seen as a men-only thing. Just like in Italy 45 years ago, when I started out. On the streets I’d never bump into other women, and the male riders would say: “Women shouldn’t be riding bikes, they don’t look good on bikes”. Sadly, in some countries this is still the case. For me, the bike is all about emancipation: freedom, rights. So I jumped at the chance of doing the Giro-E, it really takes me back to when I was a racer. Yesterday I got quite moved by the experience”.
Next update tomorrow, stage 10 of Giro-E, from Mondovì to Cuneo.
Click here to see the Giro-E rankings.