Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Peyragudes

The Tour arrives on the Pyrenees today and one year ago I was there to watch it together with Giallu en route from Marseilles.

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We did not know what to expect there. We found a colourful and enormous circus that cuts across national origin and social class. This was stage 12 of the Tour with the peloton arriving in Peyragudes at 1,590 m (5,217 ft) and below you will find my photos of the day.

Grosse Scheidegg

On July 12 I took the train at 6:00 and went to Interlaken (566 m). I rode up and down along the lake until I reached Brienz (also 566 m) and then gently up to Meiringen (595 m), where the actual climb begins. The road goes up nicely through the pines at first; and then brutally next to the Reichenbach falls where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle found inspiration and a death place for his hero Sherlock Holmes in the battle against Professor Moriarty. The climb then slows down for three or four kilometres, before getting pace again for a long final stretch, which I did not expect, with a steady percentage of 10 or more. The mountain pass is at 1,962 m and lies just in front of the legendary Eiger – to which I had paid an indirect tribute back in 2015. This is the Grosse Scheidegg, one of the hardest and most beautiful climbs in Switzerland.

From the top to Interlaken it is all goes down: Grindelwald (1,034 m) and Gündlischwand (660 m). I considered riding all the way back to Bern (540 m, about 50 km), but there was a strong wind and I did not have the legs.

Les contradictions de l’Italie

Aujourd’hui les contradictions de l’Italie se reflètent dans cette alliance, cette cohabitation contre nature, il n’y a pas d’extrêmes politiquement plus opposés que le parti Cinq étoiles et la Ligue, c’est inquiétant, car ces contrastes viennent brouiller nos relations avec les autres pays européens.

Oggi le contraddizioni dell’Italia si riflettono nell’attuale alleanza di governo: una coabitazione contro natura …e inquietante, perché questi contrasti complicano enormemente le nostre relazioni con gli altri paesi europei.

(Domenico Pozzovivo, ciclista e gregario di Vincenzo Nibali. Da “L’Équipe” del 18 luglio 2018)

Nine albums

Last Leaf, A Humdrum Star, Lanterns, Transangelic Exodus, Johnny Cash: Forever Words, Carrie & Lowell Live, The Best of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, <|°_°|>, Wildness.

Square pass(ports)

Together with Jelena, I wrote a blogpost on citizenship and football published on the observatory on citizenship I work for. We did some research and found out that 220 players at the world cup, that is one out of three,  have dual citizenship. These include the likes of Lionel Messi (citizen of Spain and Argentina), Kylian Mbappé (France, Cameroon and Algeria), Dele Alli (Nigeria and England). These players could well be representing another national team, if they had made the choice. And so could other players in the past: imagine what previous world championships would have looked like if Patrick Viera had chosen to play for Senegal instead of France, John Barnes for Jamaica instead of England, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski for Poland instead of Germany. You can see the visualisation we have made following this link and you can read the article here.

Post scriptum, July 23 2018: we have now published an updated version of this post on the nccr – on the move blog.

 

Allo sbaraglio

Oggi, 7 luglio, era la giornata di “Una maglietta rossa per fermare l’emorragia di umanità”, un’iniziativa promossa da Libera e Gruppo Abele, Arci, Legambiente, Anpi e dal giornalista Francesco Viviano. Ad oggi credo che si tratti dell’unico vero atto di opposizione alle politiche retrograde del governo, a meno di non volere considerare quanto tale anche la diffusione sui profili online del logo ‘Aprite i porti’ . A questo siamo ridotti: alla trasformazione della lotta politica in simbologia fai-da-te. Intanto scriviamo con rabbia, sdegno, e malcelata superiorità senza provare ad ascoltare chi la pensa diversamente, opponendo propaganda alla propaganda di chi ci governa.

Caves Ouvertes

Some snapshots from a very Swiss Spring weekend at the beginning of May. Features: Dani, Giallu, Jonas and Tosan – one year after our last reunion in Torino. Keywords: Europcar, Bains de Pâquis, fondue, marché, Auvernier, Pastis, Downtown, Creux du Van.

Cyclop

Do you remember the Black Office? We are now turning into a cinema. Gaetan and Romain set up a large screen and a stereo. Annique and Stephanie improved the concept and created the layout. Johanna helped with the selection of movies. And we now have a calendar of movie sessions that are somehow related to the bike.

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Do you have ideas on other films that can be included in the future? Write me an email at lorenzo.piccoli@unine.ch or get in touch on twitter @piccolimeister.

11 April

Important announcement: on 11 April 2018 I became a doctor in Political and Social Sciences (tutto vero). Erik and Monika took some pictures upon the occasion and then we all headed to the phenomenal Blu Bar in Fiesole to celebrate.

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Adam Hansen

Cycling outfit is expensive and difficult to pick. Most cycling teams have horrible jerseys, packed with dodgy sponsors and eccric colours. I have Mapei jersey and shorts since I was a kid. It was a present from my uncle. At the time, I wanted to dress like the Russian Pavel Tonkov, the archi-enemy of Marco Pantani at the Giro d’Italia of 1997 and 1998. Indeed, the whole of Italy was cheering for the latter, but I was already a bit of a bastian contrario at the time.

Last year I decided it was time to get a new outfit. It took me one year to pick, but I eventually chose the Australian national team. This is my own tribute to Adam Hansen, the one cyclist in the circus that truly entertains his fans.

At the Giro d’Italia in Spring this year Adam Hansen will attempt to continue his unbroken run of Grand Tour finishes. The Aussie’s consecutive Grand Tour rides started at the 2011 Vuelta a España. Since then, he has participated and finished every Vuelta, Giro and Tour del France.

This is a unique challenge. Riding one Grand Tour takes plenty of strength; riding all three Grand Tours for seven consecutive years is a gigantic and somehow extremely lucky effort. Think of all things that can go wrong before and during the race, from crashing to being sick. Yet, Adam Hansen is now close to bringing his total to 20 – twice as many consecutive races as those of Marino Lejarreta, previous record’s holder from the 1980s.

Hansen is a spectacular rider who built up his own antics and style race after race. Seizing the moment to rejoice in the purity of the race he often provides an extra thrill for the fans.

 

 

Hansen likes to change things up in order to remain mentally fresh. He created several companies and he often works on matters relating to those in his hotel room in the evenings after Grand Tour stages. This is how he channels his energy in other ways and keeping his mind occupied while switching off from the race. Over the years he has started to manufacture his own carbon fibre shoes and to develop a software called “Logicycle” that he’s written for his Lotto-Soudal team to help their logistics. Marginal gains.

Plenty of riders are popular, but few earn the cult following of Adam Hansen.