Guest Article: Milano-Sanremo 2011

Everything is thoroughly cleaned

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.

[dmalbum path=”/ Galleries/[email protected]/Milano Sanremo/”/]

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33 Replies to “Guest Article: Milano-Sanremo 2011”

  1. You know, it’s when I read articles like this and ponder the “ins” that the Velominati have that I think Frank might not be as crazy as I thought when he speaks of “World Domination”.

  2. Grazie Pedale! It must have been an amazing day for you, one that will stay with you forever. Great photographs, thanks for sharing with us.

  3. perhaps this is what your feeling here, but the thoughts are so brief…there must be more.

    i read an essay in freshman composition in 88′, the jist is, there are 3 levels of appreciation as a writer.
    the first, is a very base level of involvement, and it actually enables the writer to write w/good detail, objective.
    the second, involves the writer on a certian level, w/feelings involved, but not such that they cannot divide it and remain somewhat objective, and when employed, one can write very well.
    then there is the third, writing about passions, something so important that every detail is soooo meaningful, the writer cannot put into words what has been lived or experienced.

    i suppose that may be what happened in MSR for you
    and that is wonderful

  4. Thanks for the article and photos, Pedale!

    Awesomeness! This place just gets better & better all the time. We might all have a cycling-based problem, but we have a good time with it & get to read such incredible reports from the Fellow Followers.

    I want…the red pill…

  5. Awesome, thanks Pedale! I know this is showing my ignorance, but what does Forchetta translate to in English? From my brief expereince with Latin, the old kind, I remember fortis is the root for most words meaning brave, and I’m probably getting them confused, but so far I’ve been interpreting it as pedal bravely or pedal with courage.
    (blushes) thanks to Wiki it appears Forchetta means fork, especially a piece of cutlery, so…pedals and food?

  6. Pedale.Forchetta, I am impressed with the goal you set for yourself and the fact that it was achieved one year later. The great photos are just icing on the cake. Non c’è male!

  7. What a tremendous day you must have had. I’m a big fan of pic #7. It’s just chockers full of awesomeness!

  8. Wow, I love that final line – everyone out for the race was a beautiful person. Wonderful!

  9. Thank you Pedale.Forchetta for sharing these photos and your story with us. It’s this type of thing that really adds to this community. You taking real anatomy of a photo pics and sharing your stories with us all brings us all closer to the action. Grazie!

  10. Souleur!
    How right you are…

    Ah! You are right it’s Pedal and Fork, sport and life, it was the name of a very, very old Italian cycling club.

    Really thank you.

  11. “Pedal and fork”, I love it. On the days I ride those seem to be the two most important things.

    But you should add one word, which should have equal standing: birra!

  12. I love number 13. it brings to mind classic photos from the early days of cycling.

  13. Pedale.Forchetta

    Thankyou for the photo’s and the post. Both are very cool and makes me just a bit envious of the opportunity that was given to you.

    Pedal and fork, sport and life, it all makes sense now. A passion for both; living both passions – una bella vita

  14. @il ciclista medio
    First ride last Sunday. Went ok – can’t really climb as can’t pull on bars at all (as well as being fat), and was a bit painful even on flat so wouldn’t want to do it for more than a couple of hours. But was great just being able to ride again. And pain is relative. Looking at photo #8 reminds me I got off lightly.

  15. Great photos & great story! I’m kind of jealous, but really just thrilled that a fellow Velominati was lucky enough to have such an experience.

    My favorite photo is of the couple waiting for the race, their doggie dog almost as eager as they are for the riders to come along.

    The one of E.G. Larsson’s guns is also awesome, though his tattoo detracts a bit from the purity of Big Ring Legs in black & white.

    I don’t know what I’d do if I were this close to the PROS; they are like ghosts to me, for no palpable, breathing person can be that fast on a bicycle.

    Thanks again, Pedale! Pedal & Fork, simple and wonderful.

  16. Pedale thank you, it is a little feeling of being there. What are your summer plans?? Maybe the V should commission you?

  17. @Rob
    I do not have planned anything yet
    but as I said: nothing ventured – nothing gained.
    Some ideas will come…

  18. Pedale.Forchetta:
    How right you are…
    Ah! You are right it’s Pedal and Fork, sport and life, it was the name of a very, very old Italian cycling club.
    Really thank you.

    Awesome, that’s even cooler. While I found my false assumption amusing that little bit of information has made my day.

  19. Very well done, to be in a team car for Milan-San Remo with a good eye, a camera, and a good heart, you have done us all proud. This is a post I will revisit when I need a cycling “dose”. FAS and Androni Giocattoli were wise to pick you as photographer as you really did an excellent job of capturing M-SR as more than just a blur or racers. Bravo.

  20. Pedale.Forchetta:
    I do not have planned anything yet
    but as I said: nothing ventured – nothing gained.
    Some ideas will come…

    To bad there is no awesome dutch guy we could get to make a plan???

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