Giro d'Italia: The art of war

Filippo Ganna leads Egan Bernal on the sterrato of stage 11
Filippo Ganna leads Egan Bernal on the sterrato of stage 11 (Image credit: Getty Images)

The great Renaissance artists of Tuscany were never really landscape painters. The organically rolling scenery of Italy’s most beautiful region is enough to inspire tears, applause, religious devotion... whatever gets you right in the soul. But they knew that sublime as the Tuscan land and the Tuscan sky are, they were only ever the background to human intrigue, God, politics and the much more compelling spectacle of flawed people. 

It’s true in life and it’s true in bike racing. Call today’s stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia in Tuscany what you like – the wine stage, the gravel stage – and marvel at the panoramic helicopter shots of domed hills, green valleys and cypress trees in early summer glory but beyond the branding, and everything that says about modern cycling, it was a reminder that this sport is mainly about horrible things happening in beautiful places.

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Edward Pickering is Procycling magazine's editor. He graduated in French and Art History from Leeds University and spent three years teaching English in Japan before returning to do a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism at Harlow College, Essex. He did a two-week internship at Cycling Weekly in late 2001 and didn't leave until 11 years later, by which time he was Cycle Sport magazine's deputy editor. After two years as a freelance writer, he joined Procycling as editor in 2015. He is the author of The Race Against Time, The Yellow Jersey Club and Ronde, and he spends his spare time running, playing the piano and playing taiko drums.