In my imagination, I don't think there is anything cooler than a civilian – one of us – being allowed to take the red pill and go behind the lines with a Pro team. Oh, wait. There are two things cooler than that: the first would be to have that individual be asked to be the staff photographer for a team, and the second would be to have it be for the first Monument of the year – Milano Sanremo.
This very thing happened to our own Pedale.Forchetta, and he lived to tell the tale. He even shared some of his photographs with us. Here is his brief account of his experience, exclusively found here at Velominati. His story leaves out the important detail of how he managed to become the photog to accompany the team, but if you take only one thing away from this story, let it be this: never stop dreaming, and it never hurts to ask. Grazie, Pedale! Check out his Flikr stream; it's fly.
Yours in cycling,
Last year I had the idea to follow the entire race, from Milano to Sanremo, in a team car. This idea was not new nor original but for sure was very difficult to realize. During a Classic race only one team car can follow the race and usually only 3 people are allowed into it: the the team manager, the Direttore Sportivo and the mechanic. No place for a photographer.
But as you know, nothing ventured – nothing gained.
As it turned out, FSA contacted one of their sponsored teams, Androni Giocattoli, asking them to include in their expedition a non-professional photographer. Who should be asked? Well… me. Finally I had the chance I had so longed for! In the end the arrangements were quite easy, and I was assigned to the masseur's car that during the race had the responsibility of the food supply at the 2 Feed Zones.
The day started early, and at 7:00 in the morning I was already at the team hotel to assist the preparations before the race. There I met with the mechanics, the masseurs and all the staff. Boy! A truck full of Bianchi Oltre, Fulcrum carbon wheels, components, small parts and whatever object could be considered useful for a racer. Clean and be cleaned, as any Velominatus knows, is a major pillar of every routine the team performs. I was ready for that, but not for such a high degree. Every item was spotless.
To be a racer you have to be fast on your bike. To follow a race or to overtake it in a car you have to be even faster.
Feed zones are interesting places full of tifosi of all ages; they gather there to see their favorite rider or simply to attend an event they have seen every year for a long time; a sort of ritual. The Milano Sanremo is easy to love. It reminds you that the Spring is coming! When all is said and done, the people I saw during the race are the best keepsake of this beautiful day. Whomever they are: racers, tifosi, nostalgic or passionate, they are beautiful people.
The atmosphere at the finish is overwhelming and I can not even imagine what the winner is feeling.