Guest Article: My Journey from Milano to Sanremo

Guest Article: My Journey from Milano to Sanremo

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While the rest of us where bickering over the style in which the finale of one of the most exciting editions of Milano-Sanremo played out, @Pedale.Forchetta was busy behind the finish line, living and breathing the reality of the race. He spent the day following the race to photograph the riders and tifosi and generously shares his story and photos with the community. Grazie mille, Pedale.Forchetta. And check out his awesome Flikr.

Yours in Cycling, Frank

Hey but now it’s a habit! Yes actually I can’t even remember how many times I’ve waited for this day like a kid is waiting for Santa!

This time I’ve chosen to follow the race with my own car. This year the Androni Team was not invited and my friends have only competed at the Tirreno-Adriatico.mHaving made this choice, real problems began: where to park the car, how to choose the place where to wait for the race to pass, which camera, which film – no, wait I’m digital now…In short I spent few nights trying to find the best combination and in the end I found one.

The day begins in the best possible way with the sun shining and a very good temperature. But best of all was meeting Alessandro Federico who writes for PezCycling (please search for his beautiful articles) that gave me some advices that immediately revolutionized my previous plan.

As soon as I was in Piazza Castello my attention was attracted by a blue Jaguar with a New York plate. Inside an old man, but a great one: Fred Mengoni. How many times when I was younger I read about him in Bicycling Magazine or in Road Bike Action. And yet there he is, greeted by a moved Ernesto Colnago together with his brother Paolo.

Later found out that Mr. Mengoni spent some time happily chatting with George Hincapie who used for the GS Mengoni NYC squad. As usual it was great walking between team buses, riders, beautiful bikes, famous photographers, journalists and – for me now – friends.

The race finally started and I ran to the car that I previously parked strategically close to the area. With the advice of Ale Federico I stopped at the Passo del Turchino to wait for the passing of the race and I couldn’t have had better advice. As soon as I parked the car I noted a man laying on a small table with some fruits, coffee, hot tea and so on.

He wasn’t a vendor. That little table was the result of his generosity. I wanted to take a photo of him, but as soon as I pointed my camera, he asked me to wait a moment because he wanted to call the rest of his family.

From a nearby old van appeared his wife and their five children. He told me that they were super-fans of the Milano Sanremo and every year they chased the race in order to see the riders. I just had the time to take some more photos, to chat with some more people, to be interviewed by a local television, before the race was there.

It was great to see all those people electrified by the passage of the race, greeting, screaming and jumping; in a word: tifosi. Then in few moments the race was swallowed by the tunnel that marks the separation of the Po Valley from the sea. It was time again to take my car, heading to Sanremo. When in Sanremo, thanks to my pass, I parked the car very close to the finish.

The weather was even better than in Milano and the light amazing.

You don’t need to know who won, but I can tell you that as a photographer, the moments after the finish you have at your hand all the peloton with their fantastic faces that tell all the 300 kilometers of the race.

It was the most exhilarating moment (from a photog point of view) of the day; just when I was leaving I noted near my car Mattew Goss with a line of fans waiting for his autograph or to take a picture with him, that he very patiently was trying to please. Resisting the desire to be photographed with him as well, I took the last photo of the day: it was the photo that I missed last year when he won.

What a day.

// Cyclotourism // Etiquette // Guest Article // Nostalgia // Racing // Tradition

  1. Fantastic stuff. Many thanks for posting it for us.

  2. Superb. Grazie!
    Love the 2nd photo of Gerro and Faboo at the finish. Looks like Faboo is thinking “Well, THAT was a waste of 7 fucking hours work!”

  3. Great work @PF!! Your photos are stunning, and I agree with Cyclops; the shot of Spartacus and Boom. The f’n calves on that guy…….

  4. @mcsqueak

    Nice story and as always excellent photos, Pedale! Thanks for sharing with us.@paoloYeah, we have a similar-sounding new shop opening here called “Velo Cult”, which is going to have a bar(!!), cafe, food, and a bike museum in addition to the normal bike shop stuff. Looking forward to it being a place to stop and refuel on long rides…

    Where the fuck is that going to be??

  5. Grazie Pedale! I love the images of the tifosi, and the landscape, but my favourite is the two young lads pointing the Saxo rider where to go, the looks on their faces are priceless.

  6. Such vivid photography, great write-up. Thanks, dude!

  7. Adding my thanks for the write up and pictures. Reminded me that too many years have past since I last spent a relaxed day near the Duomo in Milano.

  8. Complimenti! Great photos, thanks very much.

  9. Thank you all, really.
    As I said it was a great day and it’s a pleasure share that experience here.
    Your comments are the fuel for my ‘photography engine’!

  10. Lovely set, grazie tanto.

  11. Really great stuff PF! Thanks for the”live” action report. Jealous is an understatement!

  12. @Pedale.Forchetta
    Pedale, what ever it takes we will send international over night special delivery to keep that engine at the highest RPM!
    I am unofficially going to speak for the peloton and say you are officially the Velominati press corp photo guy. It is time to quite the day job and start doing this full time – please?

  13. @Pedale.Forchetta
    Thank you for posting up pics and write up!
    Love the family! Can taste the food on the table and feel the welcoming love of sharing the day! Chapeau!

    @Bianchi Denti

    Superb. Grazie!
    Love the 2nd photo of Gerro and Faboo at the finish. Looks like Faboo is thinking “Well, THAT was a waste of 7 fucking hours work!”

    My exact thoughts when I saw that pic! The face says it all!

  14. @il ciclista medio
    Did you enjoy those cross winds today ICM?

  15. Pedale…Thanks.

    Your images tell such a good story. All the “B” roll reveals the meaning of the bike culture to Italy.
    I love the “no airbag” sticker.
    Matt Goss looks like someone you wouldn’t want to get in a bar fight with but I gather he’s a proper gentleman.

  16. What a day indeed. Amazing report and photos and together it transports all the Velominati from Milano to Sanremo. The before and after contrasts are great, these riders look damn good after 290km of racing and I wouldn’t look so relaxed at the start. Pedale, anytime you want to use your press pass to get into an Italian race please do and always bring the digital camera. Fantastic.
    No airbag so we will die like heroes. I’m glad you included that.

  17. PF–When I die, I’m coming back as your camera.

    Breathtaking, as always. Thank you!

  18. @minion

    @Cyclops

    Freaking AWESOME! I truly envy you PF. My wife always asks me what I would do if money was no object and the response is always the same; move to Italy and ride my bike.

    Ain’t that the truth! Not saying riding where I am is dud, cos I haven’t actually ridden here yet, but that’s the beautiful dream.

    Wadda you mean “haven’t actually ridden here yet”? Did you move?

  19. Fantastic post Padele. Thank you.

  20. Fantastic post Pedale. Thank you.

  21. Ha! Matthew Goss! I like it, even tho the Yanks don’t know who he was. If my photos were half as good as yours I’d be twice as good. The pic that I like the most is the one of the fat tifoso in the ‘white ladies’ eating a fat sandwich. It’s so Italian…

  22. @zalamanda
    Ahahah… true!

  23. Thank you all!

  24. Grazie PF! Superb work.

  25. Grazie PF!

    Aside from all the other comments you got the very unusual photo of Hincapie w/o shoe covers, rivals the photo of Anquetil with bidon in the cage on a climb for rare.

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