Flavio Zappi vs Eddy Merckx???

This is the story of a very imbarrasing period of my cycling carrier.

During the first few stages at the Giro d’Italia 1981 (my first giro), the italian major sport newspaper called “La Gazzetta Dello Sport” dedicated a all page in the cycling section on …Flavio Zappi the new Eddy Merckx.

I was new pro that year and fresh winner of one stage at the Giro del Trentino were I also wear the leader jersey until last stage lost on time trial.

Also won at the same giro the team time trial stage…
Anyway one morning got up from bed in the hotel were we staying and get in the restaurant for breakfast before the stage were somebody showed me with my mix of pleasure and horror a all page of interviews from me and my director sportif at the time Dino Zangegu’ .

Former winner of the Tour of Flandres and great caracter Dino, was very famous on tv and with the italian pubblic for his great sprints and later after his carrier finished for his funny comments on tv.

Anyway, it looks like he was interviewed from a journalist at la gazzetta and during the interview he compared me with the great Eddy by saying phrases like ” when I see him riding he just remind me soo much of Eddy” and stuff like that.
Of course the result was the next few days at the giro a constant taking the xxxx by calling me Eddyyyy, hey Eddyyy, come here Eddy…
In particolar one person was really annoying…he was a prestigious domestique of team Bianchi and his name was Serge Parsani…

But I have forgive him after I saw him recently on a bday party riunion last year, and had a chance to know him better, he is a realy nice guy and at the time maybe just a little bit big headed…bless him!

This is now and is new position as a director sportiv with team Katiusha…

Flying bikes (and the roofrack)

It was november few years ago…actually it was 1983, just finish my first season at Metauro Mobili/Pinarello, and toghether with two good friends of mine decide to go near Venice to race on a cyclocross.

We had a really messi day,not only because we or I (not sure…) left the car keys inside the car and look the door, but most of all for a freak accident on the motorway Venice/Milan on the way back that night…

Vittorio Algeri

Antonio Bevilacqua

The cyclocross was a reason for us to make some cash off season, back in those day the contract was only for 10 months, so any opportunity to make some money and ride was very appreciated, anyway back to the story, we drove to the the event, we realized after the race we could not get our changing gears from the car, then we had a nightmare getting the money promised to us from the organizer (btw was 50.000 lira, aprox £18 on which we had to share the cost of petrol and motorway toll), and to finish a freak accident on the motorway….

Basically at one point during the journey we heard a big bang noise from the roof, we looked back and we saw our three bikes flying over the motorway still attached to the roofrack and landed in the middle of the central lane with car swirling around.

We reverse on the emergency lane and very quick recovery our bikes, still intact!!! after landing at 120km/hour!!!!, we dindt recover the rack…

This are my two frieds now, both Milram’s directour sportives…are’nt they soo seriuos now!

…hmmm btw Antonio was in charge on fixing the roofrack!

Racing on the beach?!?! Well…

It was 1972 when for the first time I’ve got in touch with cycling wa s with Felice Gimondi…

little a knew at the time I would live in one of his houses when I raced in 1983/4 for Metauro mobili/Pinarello as pro rider…anyway back to 1972, usual seaside resort were my family used to spend summer holiday, Cervia no far from Cesenatico (Pantani’s home land)…

like all kid my age play on the beach and building….the PISTA (racecourse)…

well this photo as adult playing?!??! but the “Pista” was something realy special and we use to spend hours making the most attractive and fast with perfect “parabole” (high corners) were the ball would stay in the course and get as far possible.
So the rules are very simple 4/5 kids as a plastic ball with a figurine inside and you got to complete the “pista” and win! you can only flick once a time in turn and if you flick to fast and goes out of the couse the next flick start from the previuos position.
The palline were personal and at the time “ciclisti” were the most appropriate and I had …GIMONDI!
Here some example…

anyway if want to play in Bognor Regis here some trick ideas…but dont forget two major things are required:
1) Sunshine
2) Golden sand
…happy play!

Bistecca e riso in bianco (Beef steaks and boiled rice)

Six am on sunday race day still dark in early season races, still sleepy for early wake up, you mite ok to have your usual capuccino and “cornetto” (croissant) but last thing you want do is to eat…
freshly grated parmesan on the rice though…

…well that was me back in 1975, I was 15/16 then (Allievo) and we were told to eat 3 hours before the race, usually at 9am.
The race would be between 60 to 80 km and at the time was consider to be very important to eat MEAT at the day of the race, little we knew that was actually not the best for the race as meat would be in my tommy for over 5 hours…yes when the race was finish.

Th other good thing about it was that everybody was doing the same error, therefore all even, still the strongest (in the stomach too) would win the race.


Tour De France commentator at Eurosport

Magrini Riccardo on the right with wordl champion Bettini.

I remember Riccardo as been one the most friendly and entertaining rider during my pro career, we raced in the same team Metauro mobili/Pinarello  during the 1983/1984 season riding also 2 Giro d’Italia together.

He was a great rouler for the team but also a great finisseur and when he had a chance he did win, his quality was last kilometer attack and if the peloton was “sleeping” for few seconds, that was enough for him the get the victory

After a very honorable career as pro Riccardo moved in to coaching and in fact he was  Marco Pantani’s last direttore sportivo

He now work as commentator for the Eurosport (italian) and he will comment the next Tour de France. He’s comments are very appreciated by the public in Italy because he can mix his great expertise with a fantastic humor to combine a very interesting and entertaining experience watching a cycling event

Franco Bitossi ” The crazy heart”


Passo dello Stelvio

An excellent junior and amateur, with respectively ten and twenty wins, turns professional in 1961 within the Philco ranks, winning just the second stage (Campobasso-Termoli) in the Three Days of the South
Despite this successful debut, his first two years of professionalism were not particularly brilliant. But it was the start of a long career (18 seasons) dotted with victories in prestigious races in particular. Three Italian Road Championships, two Tours of Sydney, two Zurich Championships, and other major races, are set out in his palmares despite the renowned cardiac hypertrophy he suffered from (hence the nickname “Cuore Matto”). It often forced him to stop racing on the edge, sometimes mid-race, to bring his pulse back to normal, before resuming to recover, and try to challenge the win. In reality it was more of a psychological than a physiological problem, such that in the’70s, thanks to the care of his team doctor Dr. Falai, the problem appeared less (but the nickname remained).

He was not really a man for general classement although you should still remember the good placings he achieved in the Giro d’Italia (7th, 8th and a 10th place) victory in the Tour of Switzerland in 1965 and in the Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta a Catalunya in 1970.

He had many successes yet, paradoxically, is often remembered maybe more for a defeat: the World Championships in 1972 in Gap, he was commanding in the last kilometre but was passed at no more than ten meters from the finish by teammate Marino Basso, which deprived him of the rainbow jersey. He was a protagonist in other editions of the Worlds, fourth at Imola in 1968 and third in 1977 in San Cristobal, Venezuela.



Andrea Chiurato Silver medalist 1994 tt Wordl Championships in Sicily (Italy)

A very good friend of mine Andrea Chiurato did had a very respected career as a professional rider.

I remember him as a very enthusiastic 14/15 years old boy just starting his racing career.

We were leaving in the same town in Italy (Tradate) near Varese and at the time I was already racing as a pro with Hoonved/Bottecchia I took this little boy and other team mate of him for a ride.

I remember to play a game were who was winning the sprint on top of a climb or a road sign the prize would have been my cap a pro-cap!

And of course he won, promising lad during his career (10 years!) he worked very hard for his team captain (Bugno, Fignon etc) and when free to do his race he did very well fantastic time trialist he came 2nd at 1994 world champ in Sicily beated by Boardman (48sec) and in front a Jan Hullrich(3rd).

He now train a team in Switzerland and enjoys his regular rides with our town boy Claudio Chiappucci.