Lorenzo & his humble friends

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

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.

Lorenzo Piccoli - thesis.png

 

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.

 

 

Life is about the people you meet

Eclettico

Italian version first; English version below

Il giovane Fridtjof Nansen ebbe molteplici interessi sportivi, dedicandosi sia allo sci di fondo che al pattinaggio, ottenendo ottimi successi in entrambi gli sport; all’età di diciotto anni conquistò il record mondiale di pattinaggio sul miglio.

Come esploratore, Nansen è ricordato per il primo attraversamento sugli sci della Groenlandia (nel 1888-1889).

Dopo la prima guerra mondiale, Nansen divenne Alto Commissario della Società delle Nazioni, e fu impiegato in diverse iniziative, fra le quali l’organizzazione degli scambi di prigionieri di guerra e l’aiuto ai rifugiati sovietici; nel corso di questa operazione Nansen ideò il cosiddetto “Passaporto Nansen” per i rifugiati (1922). Il passaporto Nansen era rilasciato dalla Società delle Nazioni a profughi e rifugiati apolidi. In totale furono emessi circa 450.000 passaporti Nansen, che permisero a centinaia di migliaia di persone apolidi l’emigrazione in un paese diverso da quello di origine. Tra gli altri, l’armatore Aristotele Onassis, il pittore Marc Chagall, il fotografo Robert Capa, lo scrittore Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov e il compositore Igor’ Stravinskij ebbero un “passaporto Nansen”.

Nansen si occupò anche dell’assistenza alle popolazioni russe in piena carestia dopo otto anni di guerra interna ed esterna. Garantì protezione e sostegno agli esuli greci ed armeni, coinvolti dalle conseguenze di conflitti spinti da forti nazionalismi. Una situazione che, pur nel suo specifico contesto storico e geografico, dovrebbe oggi fungere da monito e da esempio.

***

Young Fridtjof Nansen dedicated himself to both cross-country skiing and skating. He obtained remarkable results in both sports; at the age of eighteen he won the world record for skating on the mile.

As an explorer, Nansen is remembered as the first person to cross Greenland side to side using cross-country skies (1888-1889).

After the First World War, Nansen became High Commissioner of the League of Nations, and was employed in various initiatives, including the relocation of prisoners of war and aid to Soviet refugees; in the course of this operation Nansen designed the so-called “Nansen Passport” for refugees (1922). The Nansen passport was issued by the League of Nations to stateless refugees and refugees. In total, about 450,000 Nansen passports have been issued over time. These passports allowed hundreds of thousands of stateless persons to emigrate to a country other than their place of origin. Notable beneficiaries of the Nansen passport are the shipowner Aristotle Onassis, the painter Marc Chagall, the photographer Robert Capa, the writer Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov and the composer Igor ‘Stravinsky.

As High Commissioner of the League of Nations, Nansen also assisted Russian populations affected by the famine that followed eight years of conflict and he also guaranteed protection to Greek and Armenian exiles escaping war. This story should serve as an example for today’s situation resulting from wars and famine in Africa.

Pugni in Provenza

1984, quinta tappa della Parigi-Nizza con partenza da Miramas e arrivo a La Seyne-sur-Mer. Leader di classifica è lo scozzese Robert Millar, di gran lunga il miglior ciclista britannico fino all’epoca d’oro di Sir Bradley Wiggins e Chris Froome. Oggi Millar si fa chiamare Philippa York e vive nel Dorset.

Torniamo in Francia. E’ una giornata all’apparenza interlocutoria; ma è un’epoca, questa, in cui i big si danno battaglia ogni giorno. Nella discesa del col d’Espigoulier, nel cuore della Provenza, Bernard Hinault attacca e porta in avanscoperta un gruppetto di una ventina di corridori. Bell’imboscata.

A 35 chilometri dall’arrivo, però, il gruppo in fuga si scontra con una protesta sindacale. Qualche decina di lavoratori protesta contro licenziamenti di massa. Strada bloccata, tutti fermi, manifestanti agitati, corridori disorientati, organizzatori spiazzati. La situazione degenera in spintoni e Hinault si fa strada a modo suo.

Arriva poi la polizia e la corsa riparte. I fuggitivi spingono a tutta e mantengono un piccolo margine. La tappa la vince Eddy Planckaert in volata davanti a Sean Kelly, che spodesta Millar in classifica e va a vincere la corsa.

Hinault vinse poi molte altre gare e mantenne i suoi modi di fare piuttosto sbrigativi anche quando si trovò poi a lavorare nelle Pubbliche Relazioni al Tour de France, spostando in maniera memorabile diversi intrusi dal podio.

Fearless Femme

I was 24 when I decided I wanted to do a Ph.D. on how secessionist regions treat immigrants. At the time I was a census coordinator for my municipality by day and a restless student writing my master’s thesis by night. I remember one excruciating session in the library, when I wrote an email message to this Scottish professor who had published some remarkable articles on the topic I was interested in.

Eve answered after a couple of days with a long message. She invited me to a conference in Edinburgh where I met many of people who would have gone on to become my colleagues and friends – Jean Thomas, Dejan, Daniel. Since that day, she become my passionate and rigorous mentor. After helping me to secure a scholarship from the University of Edinburgh, she encouraged me to make a move to the European University Institute. We then spent my first year working together, as she was a Jean Monnet fellow there and tirelessly read all my drafts. I owe her so much.

Eve quit the academia two years ago and now she goes on with the the project Fearless Femme to challenge sexism and reduce mental health stigma. Wish her the best of luck!

Post-election

I was looking for good articles to share with you after the Italian elections of March 4. Not much. In a blatant act of self-promotion, I would simply recommend a short read and an interview (minute 11:30) I’ve made on Radio France International together with Fabio and professor D’Alimonte. In addition, I would also suggest a deeper read by Old Tom on the politics of frustration.

Cose che leggo

Tre articoli in vista di domani: Piergiorgio sul voto di vendetta, Mattia Feltri sugli italiani, Christian Raimo sull’incapacità di elaborazione di cultura politica.