Thursday 9 September 2021

Photo of the day - 9: Thinking of Il Lombardia (the Tour of Lombardy)


As we head into the Autumn and the road cycling season approaches the red kite, representing the final kilometre of the race, I am thinking more and more about The Tour of Lombardy, or Il Lombardia, as it is commonly known - not least because I've been writing a feature about it. In recent days I have spoken to quite a few people, including Norma Gimondi, daughter of the late great Felice Gimondi. 

Today I spoke to the head honcho at RCS Sport, organisers of this event and other big Italian events like the Giro d'Italia and Strade Bianche. It was great to finally get to speak to Mauro Vegni and talk to him about the race and its history. They are putting on quite a few races in the coming weeks - Tour of Sicily, Milan-Turin, Gran Piemonte as well as Il Lombardia. So I felt quite honoured that in this busy period he took the time out to talk to me. 

All this talk of the race, and cycling in the Lombardy region leaves me thinking that I really should go there. I must admit, I have gotten used to doing things over the phone or in video chats. Travelling seems such a faff, especially at this time where you end up having to think about Covid tests and health passes to go to different places - or even the government suddenly deciding to put the country you are visiting onto a red list, or add in other special measures. 

But, I must say I have fond memories of the couple of years I spent in Milan, and I really loved riding around the various areas in the Lombardy region - Como, Bergamo, Lecco, Intelvi, Lugano (in Switzerland), and also going South to Pavia and Oltrepo Pavese. I managed to get in a trip to Lombardy in February of last year, right before the coronavirus pandemic hit. It was only a brief trip up a couple of climbs near Bergamo - before I went on to do some skiing in Courmayeur and Chamonix - but it was lovely. So yes, all this talk of Il Lombardia has me salivating and thinking, maybe I should go there, and meet some of the folks I spoke to, other professional riders, as well as some friends I know there too. I'm holding that thought.

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