Back in the saddle. After British rider Chris Froome’s victory in the 101st Giro d’Italia, it is the turn of the emerging new talents to take centre stage. Young Italian cyclists with ambitions of turning professional and competing for the next Pink Jersey are ready to hit the roads of the Bel Paese for the 41st Giro d’Italia Giovani Under 23 Enel. We will be leading from the front once again as title sponsor of the event celebrating Italian cycling’s fresh new talents between 7 and 16 June.
An international event for promising cyclists since 1970, the youth competition was suspended between 2013 and 2016 but since last year we have been helping with its reorganisation through a new partnership. For Nicola Lanzetta, Head of Italy Market at Enel, the Giro d’Italia Under 23 is an opportunity to showcase our Group’s deep connection with the Italian territory. In fact, we have organised environmental and innovation-themed events and exhibitions along the entire route.
The 2018 route traverses four regions in North-Central Italy (Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto) covering 1,191 kilometres in total. After the prologue at Forlì, with an individual time trial, the programme will see the 30 teams competing over 9 stages (two more than the last Giro): Riccione-Forlì, Nonantola-Sestola, Rio Saliceto-Mornico al Serio, Mornico al Serio-Passo Maniva, Darfo Boario Terme-Dimaro Folgarida (Malga di Dimaro), Dimaro Folgarida-Pergine Valsugana, Schio-Pian delle Fugazze, Levico Terme-Asiago and two semi-stages in the finale (Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, Il Muro di Ca’ del Poggio-Ca’ del Poggio).
A celebration of Italian history and Italian excellence
The event does not merely involve sports enthusiasts but also aims to be a voyage of discovery around Italy. The Ministry for Sport, CONI (the Italian National Olympic Committee) and the FCI (Italian Cycling Federation) are all involved in its organisation together with the regional and local administrations and a wide-ranging group of partners.
There will be six jerseys up for grabs in the various classifications: the Pink Jersey for the overall individual time classification, the Red Jersey for the points classification and the Green Jersey for the King of the Mountains classification to start with. Also there for the taking is the White Jersey for the best young rider, a Blue Jersey for inter-stage finishes, and the Black Jersey for the last rider over the line. The winner of the 2017 Enel Under 23 Pink Jersey, Russian rider Pavel Sivakov, now has a pro contract together with nine of the top 10 riders in last year’s event, confirming that this competition really is a springboard for the careers of promising young cyclists.
But that is not all: Renato Di Rocco, President of FCI, considers it a powerful vehicle for promoting and showcasing the nation of Italy. Tasting areas for local foods and wines will be set up in the start villages, which are also staging activities to encourage young people and families to take up the sport. The spectacular routes will also offer experiences of notable cultural value. When the race passes through Ossario del Pasubio, for instance, it will provide an opportunity to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War (1918). The Prosecco hills, where the Giro Under 23 finishes, on the other hand, are in the running for acknowledgement as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bikes: the symbol of sustainable mobility
Thanks in part to the growing popularity of electric bikes; cycling has also become one of the international symbols of sustainable mobility. Aside from launching a National Plan in November 2017 to install e-vehicle charging infrastructure in Italy and to contribute to the development of e-car-related innovative technologies, Enel is working to promote the use of e-bikes. This year, in fact, we launched the first Giro E to coincide with the Italian stages of the Giro d’Italia: this is the first e-bike-only race but we ultimately aim to turn what is currently an experimental competition into an official race for the amateur category.
Nowadays, pedala-ssisted bikes are an increasingly popular means of getting around in our country and are also beginning to edge towards competition.
Courage, passion, leadership and team spirit are the values encapsulated by the Pink Jersey. The exact values our company intends to promote to young people.
Through the Giro Under 23 Enel, aside from the successors to Moser, Battaglin and Pantani, who won the competition in their youth before enjoying success as professionals, we want to get a new generation of champions of sustainability across the finish-line.