The third stage of the Giro 102 starts from the mediaeval town of Vinci, the birthplace of Leonardo, paying homage to the Renaissance genius on the 500th anniversary of his death. For many years the design for the first bicycle, a drawing in the Codex Atlanticus, was attributed to him, but it was later shown to be a hoax. A 219-kilometre stretch of road leads the race’s “pink parade” to Orbetello, on the Tyrrhenian coast, after passing through the countryside of Valdarno (the Arno Valley). It is here that a former mining area has been chosen as the location for a large cycle tourism hub. This redevelopment initiative will become reality through the Futur-e project, the Enel programme that aims to bring new life to 24 decommissioned industrial sites with sustainable solutions based on the principles of the circular economy.
The former mining area of Santa Barbara covers 1,600 hectares around Arezzo, Siena and Florence. It will soon become the subject of a public competition for projects that will see it transformed into landmark for all lovers of tourism on two wheels. It’s an ideal place for cycling fans, says Marco Fragale, Head of Enel’s Futur-e project. The site is only a few kilometres away from the town of Ponte a Ema, the birthplace of Gino Bartali, one of the giants of Italian cycling. In the post-war years he won the Giro d’Italia three times. The established rival of Fausto Coppi, Bartali was also a humanitarian hero – during 1943 and 1944 he carried documents hidden in the frame of his bicycle that enabled around 800 Jews to avoid capture by the Nazi authorities.
The Vinci-Orbetello stage of the Giro 102 traverses an area that has been the setting for many stories of rebirth and redevelopment – that of Leonardo da Vinci, a towering Renaissance figure who helped disperse the darkness of the Middle Ages with the light of science, of Bartali, a hero and champion after the tragedy of war, and that of the former lignite mine which, thanks to the Futur-e project, will begin a new “cycle” in its life. Pedal-powered, of course.