March 11, 2008
When I was told I had to ride Eroica, I was both curious and worried by the comments of riders that did the first professional edition last year. Curious because I wanted to taste and see the "white roads" through the beautiful landscape of the hills surrounding Siena. I reached the race the previous day under a very bad and cold weather and the night before riders were commenting and talking about the possible danger of the race in wet conditions. I just thought, at least, no dust.
At the start everything was okay, cold but not rainy. Ass the attacks started, I was in the front trying to reach the first section of gravel in the break. I did it and tasted the feeling of the Belgian classics just for a few seconds, before I had a flat tyre in the back wheel, right in the middle of the section. I found myself in no-man's land for 20 kilometres – in between the break and the chasing group.
Finally, I was caught and survived for another two hours before losing contact on a steep gravel, wet roads and [technical] descent. I reached a group of riders that left the race parcours heading directly to Siena. Before going to the hot showers, I had a look at the finish line in the magic place that is Piazza del Campo, probably the most beautiful location for a finish line around.
In the end, I was disappointed for the bad luck and for not being able to finish a race that I believe will grew in the coming years, and it will become a tradition.
In the next two weeks I will build up climbing skills to get ready for the stage race that will keep me going until the Giro d'Italia.
See you, Marco