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Giro D'Italia '49(8 posts)

Giro D'Italia '49Spirito
May 24, 2002 8:15 AM
A SLIGHTLY CRAZY GRANDFATHER PEDALS IN THE WAKE OF THE CHAMPIONS
(transcribed by Aldo Ross)

Cosenza, the night of May 23.

Dino Buzzati writes.

This morning in Messina the racers boarded the ferryboat and were extraordinarily excited by the strangeness of this seagoing contraption, with it's belly full of cars, and all its little stairs, bridges, gangways, verandahs, turrets, bars and small restaurants. The racers were like schoolchildren out on a school field trip: they laughed and joked, threw glasses of water on each other from one level to another, and forgot all about what was waiting for them on the opposite shore.

Calabria, in the morning sun, with its delicate blue shadows, looked like one of those posters in the windows of travel agencies, radiating happiness. But behind this fairytale backdrop, the treacherous mountains were waiting. The ferry sailed on with its cargo of multicolored jerseys. Meanwhile, someone had already crossed the strait in secret, and was already climbing laboriously toward the town of Scilla.

In the Piazza Municipio, the mayor of Villa San Giovanni made a little speech to mark the occasion, then candy was handed out, and the race set off. At that hour and in that place, the world was wonderful. The feel of being on a field trip was still prevalent, inspiring in the giants of the road a moment of self-indulgence. Below them, the sea was playing - yes, really - with the little rocky outcrops along the shore; at that very moment a young mermaid emerged from the water, visible to her waist. she turned shamelessly toward the racers and laughed. Mario Benso, the little imp on Gino Bartali's team, answered her with a rather rude gesture, at which she flipped her tail gracefully and vanished.

Meanwhile, the lone rider we mentioned before was pedaling ahead as hard as he could, but he was visibly beginning to lose ground.

The fishermen's nets were spread on the small beaches to dry in the sun; smoke from a distant ship appeared on the horizon, while a bizarre-looking stray dog with two tails, one in the normal place, the other hanging from its chest, loped along in the middle of the procession for quite some time, which showed how slowly the racers were pedaling. There were two or three attempts to breakaway, involving Pasquini, Volpi, Selvatico, Pasotti and others whose names escape us.

But the surrounding landscape was too beautiful. Even those racers lacking artistic sensibility shared in the unspoken agreement that slaving away in such a place was tantamount to cursing. It was like walking in a garden laid out above the bluest sea imaginable: big cathedral-like olive trees, daisies, flower gardens, lawns, fields of wheat and other grains, all green, and birds singing more enthusiastically than usual.

The racers rolled side by side on the wide asphalt ribbon, as if merely to satisfy their curiosity, nothing more. And yet, despite their passivity, when they caught up with that solitary cyclist we mentioned, they passed and left him miserably behind. One of the champions shouted something at him; what it was, we don't know because in these situations cars can stay in front of or behind the peloton, but not alongside. But it must have been something witty, since everyone broke out in laughter, while the other fellow was left more alone than ever, and yet he kept pedaling as hard as he could.

Which was not very hard really, but what can you expect from a man of fifty-seven who, in the wake of the Giro, yesterday and the day before, has covered the roads from Palermo to Catania, and from Cattania to Messina, over the mountains?

Each year, they say, the Giro has its extra followers who, of their own free will, join in the adventure, and with Herculean efforts try to compete with the real racers. Last year it was a soldier who was AWOL from his barracks; this time, an even more pathetic case, an old man, a certain V
Giro D'Italia '49 (part 2)Spirito
May 24, 2002 8:17 AM
cont......

Last year it was a soldier who was AWOL from his barracks; this time, an even more pathetic case, an old man, a certain Vito Ceo, a day-laborer from Carbonara di Bari, who claims in his youth to have broken the New York-to-Los Angeles bicycle record in twenty-five days.

Setting out from Bari with nothing but a racing bicycle, without even a single spare tire and without a penny, he traveled to Sicily during the past few days, leaving early in the morning the day before yesterday, well before the champions started, riding the same route as them. And he did reach Catania; his last ounce of strength exhausted, he'd been obliged to spend the night at Regalbuto. But yesterday he pushed on from Regalbuto as far as Messina. And this morning he was back in the saddle.

Is he a madman, a maniac, a bicycle mystic, some sort of knight errant? And what about his wife - because Vito Ceo has a wife, two children, and a little granddaughter - what has she to say about it? "She's pathetic, that woman. she does nothing but eat and drink," he replies, taking from his pocket some mysterious and extremely greasy documents to prove he is a veteran cyclist. He wears a jersey bearing the name of the manufacturer of his bicycle, full length knee-breeches, knee-length socks, a pair of sports shoes, and that's it. He is short, fat and stocky, a Don Quixote in the body of a Sancho Panza. He vows he will make it to the finish in Milan. And he pedals, pedals, ever so slowly.

In the area around Mileto, the deafening noise of the race caravan caused a little horse to bolt madly across the fields. Natuzzo Evolo, the young woman who "drips blood and hears voices," came out in front of her doorstep carrying one of her children (she had just finished ironing five scarves that she has decorated in her own blood with tiny, mysterious outlines of saints, holy vessels, tree branches, and Latin religious phrases).

"Who is leading? Are they very far away?" we are asked by several seminary students wearing red sashes, standing in a line along the shore. On reaching the sea, the road began to rise again, climbing into the greenish, inhospitable mountains. Inevitably, as the climb "cracked its whip", the dawdling bunch stretched out, stretched to the point where it broke into numerous little pieces. And back there, who knows how far away by now, old Vito Ceo, the scatter-brained grandfather, the Don Quixote with Sancho Panza's face, was dragging himself, push after push on the pedals, along the wide deserted road.

The sun disappeared, replaced by leaden skies. No more garden-like scenery, but dark ravines instead, where nobody has any desire to linger. Now and again a town appeared, an incredible thing to find up there in such a remote spot, its houses in situ and its crowd of people who asked us, the journalists, just one thing: "Bartali or Coppi?" To avoid disappointment, as it was obvious that any other option would have saddened them, we said not a word. Bartali and Coppi were not committing themselves. In the lead and well clear of everybody, Pasotti and De Santi, two young unknowns, were struggling up and down the fearfully steep inclines. The black rags hanging over the field to frighten away swallows were a sign to Bartali, as if to encourage him; but Bartali did nothing more than was absolutely necessary. De Santi, pedaling with all his might, caught up with Pasotti, then took off alone. "Who is leading?" the people asked from all sides, their eyes gleaming. But we did not have the heart to tell them.

And meanwhile, where was old Ceo? Had he collapsed on the side of the mountain, beckoning to trucks to stop, or was he still holding on?

In a scene extraordinarily reminiscent of Carducci (19th century Italian poet who wrote "Il Bove", two oxen stood motionless at the edge of the road, staring into the valley, that is, staring away from us, and they didn't turn their heads even one millimeter when the army
Giro D'Italia '49 (part 3)Spirito
May 24, 2002 8:18 AM
cont......

In a scene extraordinarily reminiscent of Carducci (19th century Italian poet who wrote "Il Bove", two oxen stood motionless at the edge of the road, staring into the valley, that is, staring away from us, and they didn't turn their heads even one millimeter when the army of cars thundered past, right by where they were yoked. The road pushed on into a sort of thicket which, judging by its appearance, I could swear was inhabited by hyenas and bandits, but nothing threatening came out of it. Even though he had almost reached the end of his strength by now, De Santi bounded alone through the little towns of Soveria, Manelli, Marzi, Rogliano, and on toward Cosenza. Then came a long straight stretch and a quick final climb.

De Santi was first at the finish, winning the stage but not the one hundred thousand lire offered by a local savings bank for a two-minute advantage. Pasotti arrived just thirty-six seconds later. Another minute-and-a-half, and the main group arrived. Even before he had a chance to get his feet on the ground, Bartali fell beneath an avalanche of admirers, taking a hard knock. The Italian-American Di Bacco was thrown from the race for having been towed by a car with license number RC4730. Vittorio Seghezzi received a letter here from his fiancee, telling him (between the lines) that they will never get married if he doesn't put some money aside, hinting at the chance of his winning at least a few cash prizes. And because of an illegal push in the sprint, Mario Fazio was relegated seven places in the stage results.

And the grandfather? It is nine o'clock, and he has yet to arrive. Will he get here before midnight? Are we to imagine him humiliated and defeated, a gasping wreck, picked up by a compassionate trucker, to be delivered to his home as if he were some piece of furniture? Or can we believe in the triumph of a simple soul over the decrepitude of old age? I imagine him in the heart of the darkening forest, struggling, on clumsily, ridiculous, but heroic.

"Take heart, old Ceo. You don't see them, but the spirits of the dead champions have joined you, and with spectral legs pedal ghostly racing bikes. They too are old and decrepit, very tired, and a bit crazy. They escort you silently; and now, to give you courage, all the frogs of Calabria will sing you their little marching songs; and now, to guide you all along the way, the lightening bugs, usually so uncharitable, will light their tiny lamps just for you."
_________________________
thanks to aldo ross
Giro D'Italia '49 - race summarySpirito
May 24, 2002 8:19 AM
Stage 3, Villa San Giovanni-Cosenza, 214 km

1. Guido De Santi (Atala), in 7h02'31" (time bonus 1:00)
2. Andrea Pasotti (Benotto), at 2'08" (time bonus 30")
3. Luciano Maggini (Wilier Triestina), at 2'58" (time bonus 15")
4. Renzo Soldani (Legnano), same time
5. Adolfo Leoni (Legnano), same time
6. Alfredo Martini (Wilier Triestina), same time
7. Mario Fazio (Bottecchia), same time
8. Léon Jomaux (Bartali), at 3'13"
9. Ronconi (Viscontea), same time
10. Peverelli (Atala), same time
(then a group of 51 racers including Bartali, F. Coppi, Cottur, Carrea, all same time as Peverelli)

Mountains Grand Prix
Tiriolo: a. Jomaux, 6pts, 2. Logli, 4pts, 3.F. Coppi, 3pts.

Overall after stage 3

1. Giordano Cottur (Wilier Triestina), 19h42'57"
2. Andrea Carrea (Bianchi Pirelli), at 1:07
3. Mario Fazio (Bottecchia), at 1:18
4. Fritz Schaer (Stucchi), at 1:34
5. Ronconi (Viscontea), at 1:49
6. Léon Jomaux (Bartali), at 2:02
7. Luciano Pezzi (Atala) at 3:02
8. Alfredo Martini (Wilier Triestina) and Nedo Logli (Arbos) tied at 3:43
9. F.Coppi (Bianchi Pirelli) and Luciano Maggini (Wilier Triestina) tied at 3:58
11. Gino Bartali (Bartali), at 4:13
some notes from the translator (aldo r.)Spirito
May 24, 2002 8:21 AM
(The process of translation has been made much easier with the introduction of advanced translation programs. However, sometimes the results are unexpected. I often struggle to understand what on earth is being said! What follows is the first "mechanical" translation of the race summary for stage 3. I've included the correct terms in brackets for clarity. . . not that it really makes it all that clear! Try reading this aloud to a friend. Try doing so with a straight face. Aldo Ross)

Race summary: Monday, 23 May 1949

SAINT VILLA GIOVANNI - COSENZA 214 kilometers

SIGNED ENTERPRISE DE KNOWS TO YOU (de Knows to you = the rider named De Santi)

Little after the nine Giovanni Cosenza, third stage of this Turn (Giro) takes to the movements the Villa Saint, that she lands in Calabria, and therefore in the continent, after the two days sicialian.

E' still and always festivity, the public of the great occasions never does not abandon the ciclistica run principle national.

The continuous ones saliscendi break and recompose the serpentone; rampa a more sand bank puts in crisis the dolorante Blast Oxygen Furnace (blast oxygen furnace= the rider named Bof) Pierces and re-enters in the space of little kilometers Astrua and Lazzerini. Squill (squill = the town of Scilla), the group journeys compact.

To ignite powders it thinks eternal the Vixens (the rider Volpi) then to us, author of a poderoso I lengthen on the road that door to Bagnara: to the shoulders of the from Tuscany one a sestetto is selected comprising: Goblets (Fausto Coppi), Fumagalli, Astrua, Pasotti, Peverelli and little beyond appearing the tunica rose of Cottur here.

With this situation it is raised to us towards the entroterra silano. Still some kilometer of substantial equilibrium, therefore the dive on Bull Joy (the town of Gioia Tauro) relights the minds: many assets Vittorio Magni and Pezzi.

The road that leads therefore to Vibo Valentia and Pizzo Calabro is a toboga, and obligates the elastic platoon to an incessant one.

Coil pure an annoying one venticello when the Tiriolo is faced, second Great Prize of the Mountain of this Turn, but the climb does not provoke selection, indeed the group is compact and in summit it journeys for first the Belgian fort Jomaux (the powerful Belgian rider, Jomaux), which it precedes of tightened measure Logli and Goblets (Coppi again).

The climb has not decided but the reduction manifactures the action of the day: it releases Pasotti, Vincenzo Rossello tries to take the rear without fortune; it is instead De Knows to you (De Santi), skillful and brave, to couple the wheel of the pavian.

Still little kilometers and the triestine plant in ace the companion of invola escape and s' towards the goal.

They lack more than sixty kilometers to the goal, but the prize of centomilalire place in racing silk from the sportswomen cosentini in case of succeeding hermit with more than two minuteren than advantage on the second, it stimulates the generous one I guide.

The advantage to this point is of 1' and 30"on Pasotti and 4' and 50" on the group. All it is possible. Always saliscendi, features counter wind and steep reductions, never a minute of rest.

The group rosicchia part of the always equidistant advantage to the outrider. De Knows to you (De Santi) is tired, like however "Pasottino", but the goal s' approaches, and when Ferraro is caught up, to the arrival it lacks least. And it is with the invariata situation that catches up the arrival line,
De Knows To You best and winning, the tenacious little more than a minute and means the 13"and and Pasotti group 3'. In topic of it classifies general to signal no worry for Cottur.

IT ARRIVALS ORDER

1° Guido DE KNOWS Italy to YOU gs. Atala kilometers 214 in 7 31 hours 03' "average: 30,317
2° Alfredo PASOTTI to 1' 38 "
3° Luciano MAGGINI to 3' 13 "
4° Soldani st 5° Lions st 6
part 2Spirito
May 24, 2002 8:23 AM
cont....

IT ARRIVALS ORDER

1° Guido DE KNOWS Italy to YOU gs. Atala kilometers 214 in 7 31 hours 03' "average: 30,317
2° Alfredo PASOTTI to 1' 38 "
3° Luciano MAGGINI to 3' 13 "
4° Soldani st 5° Lions st 6° Martini st 7° Jomaux st 8° Ronconi st
9° Peverelli st 10° Bottoms (the rider Fondelli) st

IT CLASSIFIES GENERAL

1° Giordano COTTUR Mesh Rose (pink leaders jersey)
2° Carrea to 1' 07 "
3° Fazio to 1' 18 "
4° Schaer to 1' 34 "
5° Ronconi to 1' 49 "
Mesh White woman (white "young rider's" jersey): Carrea

_______________________________

much appreciated aldo - thanks for the brilliant read and for your efforts
(spirito)

ciao
Spirito, please cross-post on the general boardAllisonHayes
May 24, 2002 10:11 AM
Absolutely wonderful:

"Take heart, old Ceo. You don't see them, but the spirits of the dead champions have joined you, and with spectral legs pedal ghostly racing bikes. They too are old and decrepit, very tired, and a bit crazy. They escort you silently; and now, to give you courage, all the frogs of Calabria will sing you their little marching songs; and now, to guide you all along the way, the lightening bugs, usually so uncharitable, will light their tiny lamps just for you."
no way...we need chicks like you ovah here ....Spirito
May 24, 2002 4:03 PM
its only a click away and im really wary of offering beauty to possible trolls and idiots which are many on the general forum.

i do this out of respect to the writer and to aldo as their efforts should be appreciated and ive sent enough clues for those who appreciate it to know where to find it.

it should be shared but i would be very upset if someone was to ridicule what is in my eyes of real substance and meaning.

c'mon allison you know where to look now....sometimes the most beautiful things go by unnoticed....

ciao