Fantastic weather (according to the Welshmen, the first and only
two days of 2008 summer), fairy-tales like landscapes and a lovely
welcome from the organizers.
First-day races in Singleton park, Swansea, on a very demanding
track, with a long, hard hill, a fast descent, a short "wall" which
makes almost everyone jump off the scooter and run and, above all,
a "speed trap" on a string-like winding path - euphemistically dubbed
as "technical part" - which only due to multiple interventions by
the Holy Providence (even in favour of the many atheists attending
the event) did not make any casualties. The already high level of
difficulty has been increased by the presence on the track of wandering
families and doggies more or less on lead, which have totally ignored
the fact that a highly fought race was taking place a few inches
Debut with the relay race.
Viglio jr., restored back to life, declares an unbelievable recovery
from his ankle troubles (wild hopping-dancing at the WC party) but
is scornfully neglected by the managers of the Italian team, who
prefer relying on the white-haired reliability of the old age pensioners
De Amicis, Viglio sr. and Luzzana. The youngster therefore, eager
for sensational revenge, throws himself in the arms of the newly-established
mixed-team together with Lars and Karel Cvalin. Obviously the bubbling
rage of young Viglio will eventually make the difference and deny
the Italian team of the highest step of the virtual podium ... Third,
the Dutch team, this time without any controversy by the Italian
team (re WC). Worth to mention are a spectacular dive in the mud
by a runaway Andre Visscher and an impressive performance by Roberto
De Amicis. The latter's top condition to be confirmed in the 20
k: at the beginning Cvalin and Kessler dictate the pace, I mimic
a pathetic attempt at resisting, then Roberto joins me and eventually
leaves me behind.
On the finish line, the first three arrive with one minute gaps,
after a further minute I am fourth with a truly dishonest sprint
over Mike King, who made the mistake of pitifully collecting me
with a spoon along the track while I was totally hopeless and of
escorting me until the finish line. Elisa - at last focused on the
race, due to the absence of Scandinavians - keeps at bay, with royal
imperturbability, her opponents in the women's classification and
gains the (virtual) gold. In the evening, a very well-attended rave
party at the much desirable cottage of Pete, one of the organizers.
The Italian team puts itself under the spotlight thanks to the elegance
of their Avis track-suits, ideally suited to fight, in addition
with earbands and wollen mittens, the rigours of the icy Welsh night.
Ben in Welsch national shirt...
Strict compliance with the drink and drive ban denies me of a lift
back to my Bed and Breakfast until the following morning, when Rob,
the other organizer, and his son Dave (a.k.a "the joy-rider") deliver
me to the lovely cares of the B&B houselady. The good madam, eager
to justify the exaggerate price of an overnight "non-stay" at the
B&B serves me with a Pantagruelian full-throttle English breakfast,
with bacon, sausage, croquette, fried eggs, fried tomatoes, toast,
marmelade, juice, tea. Thus the well-wishing woman totally frustrates
the autogenous-training I had practised overnight aimed at becoming
magically faster and puts at risk my almost unavoidable victory
in the last leg of Eurocup, i.e. the same morning's 5k on the seaside
promenade from Mumbles to Swansea.
Matteo fastening shoes
in direction finishline
Air is electrict at the kick-off, the kickers in the leading group
study each other while trying to be draught behind the escort-vehicle
supplied by the organizers of the famous Admiral 10k race to be
run later on. Karel Cvalin starts whipping the group of the leaders,
tiny Van der Velde resist, myself and Viglio jr. do the needful
to survive; on the only hill (a scarce two-meters) of the day Cvalin
is once more in the run but then he renounces, realising he is being
closely chased by the Italians; Visscher charges on and is unwisely
neglected by the pretenders to the victory, who keep studying eachother's
moves, a little out of steam to be honest. In the while Mr. Visscher
- almost in disbelief, crosses the finish line as first, in front
of eternal Lars Kessler and of a too generous Cvalin. Viglio jr.
precedes me merciclessly.
on the Effendi
At this point asphyxia dims your witness' recollection of circumstances:
there are rumours of Elisa being overtaken by Thijza with her new
"club Billionaire" scooter, but no reliable evidence is available,
nor it will ever be because it seems that the electronic timing
- we had been supplied with a precious chip for that purpose - did
not work properly.
The fact should not be surprising, given the fact that I do not
remember anyone who at the start made us go thorugh any detector
mat... in a triumph of good wishes, therefore, technology failed
miserably and I suspect the last Euro cup race classification will
be made up based on verbal records, with fictionary timing. Having
considered this, I am no longer positive that Luca Viglio overtook