Now that the Giro d’Italia has finished, I’ll try to make the first assessment with you. Today I’ll begin with the ten things that worked (and which satisfied me the most). Next week, we’ll instead touch upon the ten questions that I’ve taken away with me and which we will look to answer together in the months that separate us from the 2013 edition.
1. Herning, Horsens and Denmark. A winning choice because of the warmth shown by the Danish people. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a Grande Partenza that adopted the colour pink in such a systematic way. The city, the houses and even the people were draped in pink. It was an unforgettable party for all of those who experienced it, and the visit of Prince Frederik and of Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt was the icing on top of an already wonderful cake.
2. Assisi. The finish at Assisi took my breath away. The beauty of the final kilometres, which climbed right up to the centre of town in the shadow of the Basilica di San Francesco, between two throngs of cheering fans, will always remain in my heart and in the history of the Giro d’Italia.
3. The open finale. I’d said before the start, “may the best man win,” but my dream was to get to Milan with the race still open and with several champions within a few seconds of one another. The Gods of Cycling granted my wish. Thank you.
4. Garmin-Barracuda. JV had promised us that his team would come to the Giro to be protagonists and they went home with the pink jersey and the Trofeo Senza Fine. Chapeau. Honour, too, to Katusha, Vacansoleil-DCM, Sky, Astana, Liquigas-Cannondale, Lampre-ISD and Movistar, who all played starring roles. You love the Giro and the Giro loves you.
5. Mark Cavendish. A lion, a real world champion, an example to follow. Mark should go to schools to teach children lessons in courage, grit and determination.
6. Taylor Phinney. A star. A lot of people knew it already. BMC know it well, and they'll guard him jealously. We discovered a champion and found a friend.
7. The Mortirolo and Stelvio. Last August, you, our fans chose the mountains as we presented you with the Fan Stage. An intense and decisive stage came out of it, rich in emotions. Now who says it’s not worth having dialogue with our fanbase?
8. The wildcards. Some teams collected more than others, but all four lit up the race and were always in the heart of the action. Taking into account that competitive performance certainly didn’t represent the principal criteria for selection, we can be more than satisfied.
9. Unicef. I wake up happy in the morning because I do a job that inspires the enthusiasm and curiosity of milions of people, but knowing that this work also raises funds and that those funds will lengthen the life of a child gives everything a completely different meaning. Thanks for choosing us Unicef. We will be at your side for as long as you want.
10. WW Special. So much affection was shown from the roadside. So many messages were received from all over the world. 108 present. Wouter Weylandt still lives with us.
Before signing off, forgive me if I take advantage of Cyclingnews’ hospitality to thank all of those who were by our side and who allowed us to put on this show – host towns, sponsors and partners, the police, suppliers, volunteers and all of the staff who worked non-stop for months so that everything could go as well as possible.
Thanks to all 22 teams and to the 198 riders who climbed onto the stage, and to all the media who helped us to bring the Giro d’Italia around the world.
And finally, a heartfelt thanks to you, to all of our fans who follow us with such love and passion. Remember – everything we do, we do it for you.
See you online.
From Strade Bianche to Lombardia, via the Giro d'Italia, Michele Acquarone and the RCS Sport team will navigate the season with us, bringing Cyclingnews readers behind the scenes, as they discuss the challenges that face race organisers and share their fresh and innovative approaches to cycling.
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