Giro Under 23: Trentino’s myriad talents

Giro Under 23: Trentino’s myriad talents


There is no doubt that in cycling terms at least, Trentino very much translates as “talent”.

Take today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia Under 23 Enel, which traverses the entire Autonomous Province of Trento. This route alone brings to mind a truly astonishing tally of pink jerseys, yellow jerseys, tricolour jerseys and rainbow jerseys worn by champions such as Francesco Moser, Gilberto Simoni, Maurizio Fondriest and Daniel Oss. And that is without even mentioning the women competitors. Cles, just 17 kilometres from the start, is, for instance, the birthplace not just of Maurizio Fondriest but also a very young champion who, although she hasn’t even turned 19 yet, already holds five world track titles and nine European track titles. We’re talking, of course, about Letizia Paternoster, who has also delivered a few world road racing podium finishes to boot. And as they say in such cases, we’re only getting started.

Today’s stage is not short on history either. There is history with a capital H in the many tributes being paid in local theatres, small and large, to mark the centenary of the Great War, and the programme of events will continue over the coming days. There is also cycling history because there isn’t a corner of the area the Giro passes through, from Val di Sole to Valsugana, that hasn’t delivered truly memorable moments in the sport. But the appeal of cycling is flanked by the appeal of the stars too: who knows if Italy’s first female astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti, was able to pick out her little hometown of Malè and what it looked like to her as she gazed down on it from space?

But towering above all the champions we’ve mentioned so far (and the many more we could list besides) is Francesco Moser, who, the uninitiated might not be aware, has won more races than any other Italian cyclist. That’s more than Coppi, more than Bartali, more than Gimondi, more than anyone else! His biographies calculate their number at 273 in all, putting him third overall on a world level behind Eddy Merckx and Rick Van Looy.

We would be doing Moser an injustice to list all his triumphs as they did span everything from road to track (he was world pursuit champion and long-time holder of the hour record too). But as we are talking “talent”, we should also mention that Moser didn’t slack for a minute after he retired from competition but quickly became involved in an extraordinary entrepreneurial spin-off that saw him become one of the Region’s most celebrated winegrowers. Today’s stage, in fact, will pass by the historic Villa Warth farm on his famous estate.

Do you know which of Moser’s wines is his personal favourite? The Brut “51,151”, of course! This might seem an odd name for a wine to those unfamiliar with cycling but is actually a reference to the number of kilometres he cycled in Mexico City when he smashed the World Hour Record, which remained unbeaten for many years.

The cycling talent in Trentino continues to sparkle.