Stage 3: Biella – Canale. A fiery fight
Yesterday in Novara, the curtain fell on Antonia, the witch of Zardino, being burned at the stake. And the flame is still on today, as the stage takes the start from Biella. Margaret of Trent died at the stake not far from here, by the Cervo riverside. After two fast-running stages, two breakaways, two bunch sprints, the peloton will be confronted with a wavy route. After the sad thoughts of the two previous days, why don’t we stop for a while in a quiet and suggestive corner, a cozy and silent garden, and let our mind rekindle the memory of Margaret? The wild vegetation, the river flowing close by, the factories at the riverside, the peaceful nature clashing with the loud and noisy town, the blooming landscape. Let us not be discouraged, rather, let our minds go back to all the times when a rebellious, stubborn rider attacked and went through.
It was 1963, and the Giro was passing by Biella, on its way to the Sanctuary of the Black Virgin of Oropa. As a matter of fact, the town had already been synonymous with the imposing basilica among cycling enthusiasts. The stunning frontal images of Mount Mucrone with the silhouette of the huge dome (which almost makes you wonder “What is it doing up there?”) did the rest. The first riders catching sight of this beautiful scenery, however, didn’t have the time to enjoy it. The stage was hard-fought, and bound to cause stresses and strains – not just physically.