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Stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia: Biella – Canale. A fiery fight


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.

Vito Taccone, the chamois of Abruzzo

Vito Taccone, ‘the chamois of Abruzzo’, decided to jump away from the main group, cranking the pace of this cycling pilgrimage up a notch, as the route was rising left of the Valle dell’Inferno (‘Hell Valley’). The GC leader Ronchini started to feel the burn straight away, as a gang of little devils – Taccone, Adorni and Balmamion – followed and tormented him. Taccone could not resist the urge to attack along the climb. Adorni and Balamion were struggling to move up the GC. When ‘the chamois’ jumped away, however, none of them could counter his attack, and instead of chasing after him, they had to let him go. The gap soon became unbridgeable. A move that Adorni wasn’t happy about. He argued that Taccone had taken advantage of the situation. «You’re just making excuses» he replied, speaking his mind. Adorni wanted to win so badly, and he would have liked a clear road ahead of him. But Tacconi got in his way. It would have been crazy for him to pass it up. If we look at the rest of his career, it is clear that a bit of insanity surely does help. And it could, too, in this rough stage finishing in Canale. Fire in the hole!

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