• There are over 20,000 licensed riders, belonging to several federations (in an area slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey, and with a population of only 4.5 million). When the Giro d'Italia enters the Veneto, the commentators always announce, "The race is now entering the homeland of cycling." The province of Treviso, where I make my home, is acknowledged to be "the Province of Cycling," because it has the most cyclists per capita: 90% of the population rides a bicycle!
Speaking of the Giro d’Italia, Director Mauro Vegni emphasized that:
“The relationship of the Corsa Rosa with the Veneto Region is historical...I am sure that it will be a great celebration of sport – and cycling in particular – in the region that has the highest number of cycling fans and cyclists in Italy.”
The President of the Veneto Region Luca Zaia stated that "...all the Veneto Region embraces the Corsa Rosa, grateful for this new chapter of the never ending story of love between Veneto and cycling.”
Paolo Bellino, CEO and General Manager of RCS Sport..."For cycling, Veneto means high fidelity to the Corsa Rosa and international excellence. Many of our partners come from this region that has always given prestige to our country."
• Castelfranco Veneto is the official bicycle manufacturing capital of Italy: it's the headquarters of a designated bicycle production district encompassing the provinces of Padova, Treviso and Vicenza. There are 99 firms with 1,500 employees, producing 30% of Italian cycling products. Padova alone has 64 firms, the highest in the nation.
• Manufacturers include Pinarello, Wilier Triestina, Dynatek, Sarto, Alan, Atala, Battaglin, Fondriest, Bilato, Grandis, Basso, Torpado, Bernardi, Scapin, Olympia, and Bottecchia bicycles, reknowned framebuilders Antonia Taverna (Vetta), and Faggin, saddles by SMP, Selle Italia, Selle San Marco, Fi'z:k, Selle Royal, and Selle Bassano; Sidi, Gaerne, Duegi, Diadora, DMT, and Northwave shoes, Sportful/Castelli, Alè, and Biemme cyclewear, Rudy Project sunglasses, and Sci-Con accessories, and components by Tiso, Sel.Cof, Gipiemme, Ursus, Modolo, Miche, and of course, Campagnolo
Italy is synonymous with so many of our civilization's most glorious and wonderful creations, things that fill our lives with beauty, excitement and joy, and make it worth living. Thus, each person envisions his own fantasy Italy, according to his own pursuits and passions. To some, she is Raffaello, Palladio, and Verdi; to others, Barolo, Parmigiano, and tortellini. To lovers, Italy is a romantic gondola ride. To pilgrims, she is St. Peter's Basilica and the pope. History buffs and classicists stand in awe at the sight of Roman ruins. Sophisticates seek the latest trends in fashion and style, while others thrill to sexy engineering and blazing speed (Ferrari! Ducati!), or the world's premier soccer league. Whatever the endeavor, Italians do it not only expertly and artistically, but with panache and brio. Nowhere is this more true than in the realm of cycling. To the appassionati of two wheels, Italy is cycling: Coppi and Bartali, Il Re Leone Cipollini, Il Pirata Pantani, and Nibali lo Squalo, Dedacciai and Campagnolo, Wilier and Pinarello, Rudy Project and Sidi, Milano-San Remo, Strade Bianche, Il Lombardia, and the Giro, cheerful sun-splashed landscapes and mist-shrouded Dolomite passes, the very language itself: forza, bravo, campionissimo, gruppo, tifoso. Italianicity in all of its manifestations is the ne plus ultra of our sport. BiciVeneto is a homage to my two greatest passions: bici *(bee'-chee--bikes, short for biciclette), and the Veneto region of Italy, my adopted home. It's an apt combination, because contrary to the common perception, not all of Italy is cycling mad, and there are, in fact, regions where you will not encounter many cyclists at all. The Veneto, on the other hand, is a land of generations-old cycling heritage and traditions, and bicycling in all forms is a way of life. If you ask the Veneti why this is so, they will answer that cycling is a tough sport which demands hard work, stubbornness, and sacrifice, qualities which are an integral part of their character. The Veneto is arguably the most "cyclistic" of Italy's 20 regions:
VENETO, THE HEARTLAND OF CYCLING
• Many riders in the professional peloton hail from the Veneto (see the page) . World champions include Alessandro Ballan, Moreno Argentin, Marino Basso, Renato Longo (CX), Paola Pezzo (MTB), Alessandra Capellotto, and Gianni Bugno (whose family is originally from Cavaso del Tomba in Treviso province),
Photo © April Pedersen Santinon
All photos © April Pedersen Santinon