New Year Resolutions and Happy New Year!

It's just a convention and a recent one: in Florence traditionally – like in many places in Europe – the new year used to begin on the 21th of March, namely the vernal equinox. Traditions deeply rooted in the circle of nature never die: the light holyday on the 21th of December became Christmas on the 25th, on the 25th of March in Florence we still have a big religious solemnity dedicated to Maria, virgin and mother.
It's just a convention and I spent half of my life with a man who used to refuse angrily to celebrate it. It's just a point arbitrarily signed on a solar calendar that is also a convention, beacuse nature goes on according to the moon. Neverthless I like to stop here like on the edge of something completely new and to take a moment to watch behind. That edge exists everyday, I know, but the power of a large convention help to make it work as a turn point. That's why conventions are useful, that's why we say humans are social animals.
So there we go and let me say I'm very proud of my 2011. It has been a fully lived year for me and I manged to realize almost all my New Years Resolutions (for a change!). They were:
1. working DONE: finally I worked in school since March to June, as a teacher for students with special needs. I had two students, both adolescents, Maria and Zaira, and both gave me big professional satisfactions. Italian Educational system is a mess, however teaching you feel your job makes sense.
2. cycling DONE: I'd have liked to ride more but during the week I was busy with school, in the WE I was busy with races... I trained a little with my son's team – they absolutely kicked my ass – and we enjoyed a five days cycling holyday near Bassano del Grappa. Then I found out I have got a severe anemia so even half an hour of pilates became too much for me. Now I'm recovering - taking tons of iron – and doing more analysis to understand the origin of the illness given that I have been a little anemic since ever but that never prevented me to do even hard sports. Sum up: I'm happy with my cycling season 2011 ;) As Bodnar said in my interview: "You could always do better!"
3. to have our bedrooms and livingroom painted DONE: It sounds easy but isn't when you have got ceiling four meters high.
4. to go watching TdF on the Galibier DONE: That was one of the best day in my life in spite I couldn't be at the finish. To be honest I didn't try because... I wanted to watch the race on my laptop, all the stage. Make jokes at me but I feel when Andy is going to win. I saw him at the start with the 'right' face: distant, focused, in the 'zone'. What a day. When I think of it I always remember a page by Mura ("La fiamma rossa") who says Pantani's victories are maybe few but so beautiful, so special they are like precious pearls in a necklace.
5. to go watching the Amstel: WOT it seems that race isn't for me. Once that fucking volcano decides to erupt just when I have to get a plane, another time I got the invitation to the press conference before Liège and of course I can't stay away for all the Classics: I was working this year and went to Liège during my Easter holydays. I.e. no holydays but a tour de force. Liège was great anyway and I got Andy's bottle that's a great souvenir: I can't complain.
6. to finsh my course on line of Luxembourgish ALMOST DONE: I'll nedd some extra weeks to complete all the execises and tests but I studied all the grammar of the first level. Can I talk Luxembourgish? Nee!!!! can I understand it? Jo :D ...a bit. I understand - more or less - written Luxembourgish and can get the general meaning of a conversation if I pay attention. I'm really proud. Give me some time and you'll see, ehehe! But I have got two serious problems: 1. my keyboard has not got all the charcaters I need 2. I use a on line dictionary French-Lux but can't find a paper one here: "Is that a language?" they ask me doubtfully in bookshops. It seems I must buy it in Luxembourg.
7. to make my B&B work DONE: yeah, it works :) Come and try it! I had already many guests from everywhere in the world and it's very nice to meet different people, be useful and share what I can about this beautiful city. You end looking at it with new eyes, forgiving the shabbiness of habit.
8. to make beautiful interviews and reportages DONE: I can't say by myself they are 'beautiful' but I enjoyed to write them and tryed my best. Some of them got many and many readers, during last Tour de France this blog had over 50.000 contacts and that's a lot. I know it depends more on the subject then on the author anyway I'm happy.
9. to give my friends back all love they give me even if we are so far: I tryed. It isn't easy. I'm really glad I manged to visit my friend Eva in Amsterdam but failed to met some friends in Luxembourg. I saw the most of them in Liège and that's great. Internet is something amazing because it allows you to build or keep real friendships with people you can't meet everyday. But it's also sad because you would like to share more with them and that's impossible. I must thank my friend Elisabetta who sent me a paper Xmas card by the real mail: a really apreciated it. In the real mail box there was also the Fan Club calendar, with pictures of Andy and Frank Schleck and the UCI races calendar 2012. Mega cool! You can also buy it on the Fan Club site. But I miss the Xmas athmosphere in Luxembourg... the Xmas market, Linda's biscuits, Georges (and family), Ed (and family), Pascale (and family)... sorry I can't name you all. A special thought to the Schleck family of course: mom Gaby and BigBro Steve in primis. I will never forget the image of Gaby smiling in Liège with two medals on her belly – as she said ;) What a proud mom!
10. to manage to say the one I love: "I really love you and want nothing back." DONE: that was my turn point and given that it was early in the year it gave me the joy and strenght to be at my best. No matter if he doesn't love me: he cares and that's enough. It confirms the guy I love more then myself is a special one, good and great. I learnt a lot about myself by that – hard – experience: moreover I understood that love isn't something you can decide, it's more about to belong then about to own. I must say I have never loved anybody like that, maybe my son but it's a different kind of love. When the fire lasts so long you can be sure it's a pure flame because it already burnt all the rest.
New Years Resolutions 2012
1. To go ahead about that sickness and to heal hopefully
2. To go to watch Paris-Nice and Amstel
3. To write new good reportages and interviews
4. To bring my son to the TdF finish in Paris
5. To improve my Luxembourgish ;)
6. To get a new frame for the kitchen window and to have the kitchen painted
7. To ride my bike and to go almost once a week to the gym (come on! Give your subscription a sense!)
8. To write my essay about Hegel and Derrida or to improve my study about it at least.
9. To work (I mean money): school, B&B and publishing.
10. To hold on this percious feeling and demostrate I'm worth of it. Sometimes I get nuts without a reason, just because of a silence or a glimpse. Like a child I must learn to belive things don't change when you turn off the light.
Happy New Year ! Vill Gléck am neie Joer


In short: McEwan about favourites (and not) in TdF

There is an interview with him by AAP news agency. Read it all here:
In short:
1.Three favourites: "Cadel, Wiggo and Contador”
2 Two outsiders: Tony Martin and Levi Leipheimer
3. Not the Schleck(s) "The Schlecks are really at a disadvantage with their lack of time trialling ability. That makes it very, very difficult for them next year."

Last Polemic of the Year

I  was checking RTL.lu site and found that poll:


Resultat vun der Ëmfro

Sportler vum Joer sinn den Andy, d'Mandy an Football-Nationalequipe: De richtege Choix?

Jo, si hunn et verdéngt!  
(156 Stëmmen )
Nee, anerer hätten et a mengen An verdéngt!  
(248 Stëmmen )
Ech hunn dozou keng Meenung.  
(23 Stëmmen )

Total: 427 Stëmmen

Now I think it's curious: not the result I mean but the choice of such a subject for the poll. I am not in Luxembourg - even if somebody think I am ;) - but it seems somebody (a few or even many people) didn't agree with the decision to award Andy Schleck and Mandy Minella as best sport man/womn 2011 and I guess the problem wasn't Mandy.... 
Opinions are opinions. The mine is that Andy and Frank Schleck gave Luxembourg something special: a double podium in Tour de France. Just because of that they (and anybody else) would have deserved that award. If they did that in 2009 or 2010 nobody probably would have denied it. But 1. the award is individual and individually Andy and Frank didn't achieve such a big result (Andy especially: no victories if you exclude TdF stage). 2. Andy Schleck won that award many times already: there are other good guys in Luxembourg, are there not? 
The best option would have been to give the award to both them - if possible - and the 'second place' to somebodyelse. 
Finally: what if the Schleck(s) don't get any awards once? They are a kind of an istitution in Luxembourg but awards are supposed to come after results not after a good name. Young people must fight for them not get them 'to the career' like old glories. I'm sure that both Andy and Frank agreee: biger expectations mean also a stricter evaluation. That's probably why a 58% said: Nee.


Ten Things We Miss About Summer

I was siting in the sun at the hotel bar tables, in front of the swimming pool, wearing just my bikini and a white thin dress, bare feet, my eyes half closed for the violent light of the afternoon... I was... dreaming! Maybe it was too warm under my duvet. Out it was cold instead and still dark in spite it was officially 'morning'. A cold dark winter early morning. WOT I want the summer back! the feeling of the summer: heat, sweat, free nacked skin... sea, cold showers, long days, Tour de France...  I have never missed it so much.
In our kitchen we have a small bleackboard and at the moment you can read on it:
Ten Things We Miss About Summer
1. Holydays
2. Not many homeworks and no school
3. To go around (means: traveling)
4. friends in the country
5. To go around half nacked
6. The heat
7. The Tour de France
8. The funfair
9. To ride my bike whenever I want
10 My cycling season
My son and I wrote it together. And we mean it! We miss holydays of course - even if I work even more in summer I don't have to wake up early in order to prepare him breakfast so 'no school' is a nice good thing for both of us. We miss travels, trips and rides. We really miss the wonderful feeling to go around half nacked, the sun on the skin, bare feet on the sand or on the grass of our country house. That's life! Moreover if we can share it with friends and have fun. Summer is cycling for both of us: my son races since March to September but the heart of his season is between June and August. July of course if the heart of the mine: the Tour! My B&B is closed in those days in spite Florence is crowed of tourists. 
It's a long way to July yet. The RR season however is about to start again. I'm not counting the days - I am  not! - but Tour Down Under begins on the 15th of January :D

Typical Jensi: Memories of Tour de France

Impossible to tell in short! read it here:
And that's why we all love him so much! I remember something similar in 2010 TdF: we were crowded at the bus, Jens Voight - the only rider still in sight - was giving an interview to a German tv while signing papers and pictures. There was a little girl - 6 or 8 maybe - who couldn't reach him: she was just in front but out the barriers and too short. I touched his thigh - I'm very short me too, you know - telling: "Jens!" He glimpsed at me, I pointed him the little girl and he turned to her suddenly leaving journalist and cameraman. Things like that count more then victory :)


In short: Riis about Andy Schleck and TdF...and more

There is a Riis' interview by the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. Read an English translation (and more) here:
In short:
1. Andy has what it takes to win TdF but could never get it "because he is not serious enough", he always lacks the last bit: "Maybe because it comes too easily to him." And IMO it could have been true sofar...
2. "But he is still young, and he becomes more mature with age." That already happened: I'm sure next year we will see a different Andy: more serious, focused and serene.
3. Contador is one of the strongest racers ever: "His [Andy's] problem is just that he races in the period when Alberto Contador also races - and he finds he can't beat Alberto.”But he already did a few times. And cycling ISN'T an individual sport.
Here you have a vid about Schleck(s) and next Olympics:


A little stubborn light: Merry Christmas!

Christmas is coming: gold, red and white. No snow in Florence sofar but a falls of lights. I belove Christmas lights and not at night but in the early winter evenings when it's still day but the sky is all gray blue. Hills are misty in the background, the cold pavements sound hard under your shoes and streets are crowded in busy people hurrying for the last gift. The right time to stop for a cup of hot chocolate in a cosy warm cafè.

I used to dislike Christmas when I was a child because of the relatives invasion at my parents place but my son likes it and we are the whole family: we decorate together our Christmas Tree with new things chosen together every year and we prepare our crèche even if we are not exactly christians. But Christmas isn't about religion: it's about (re)birth, about those cheerful little lights gently fighting against the dark of the deepest night. We like to sit and watch our Christmas Tree, enjoying to be together in a warm safe home, sending people lonely or in troubles a pray or a throught.
Christmas is also about 'naughty and good', isn't it? Not bad that we have a time to wonder in which list we fit, but Santa seems too incline to forgive so scarcely useful in a moral way. Come on, who can say to have been absolutely 'good'? And who can judge others so strictly to say they have been absolutely 'naughty'? We did our best. 
As far as I am concerned, I have already got my best gift: the person I care the most in the world told me few days ago he likes and apreciates me and my work.
It will be a perfect Christmas at home with my family. I don't ask more. Of course I'd like to attend RadioShack Nissan Trek team launch, but the 6th of January is holyday and I spend it with my son. Last year I went to Luxembourg because it was something special, and it had been a big sacrifice. This time I decided to not go. Probably it will make brighter the holyday in Luxembourg but in my opinion that isn't the best day for such an event. I'm free to not go, others aren't.
I wish you a Merry Christmas dudes. Keep on reading me and I'll keep on writing. Be happy and spead joy: life is too short to waste it with hate, envy or bad mood. Be yourself a little stubborn light. I'm trying at least!


Andy Schleck in Calpe - Pics Spam 3

Take it as my Xmas gift :D That's the last post from Calpe... enjoy!
Note the name on the bike ;)

Honey (in the pocket!)

Finally a smile :)

Frank Schleck in Calpe Pics Spam

Fixing the bike
Ah no! Calpe Pics Spam isn't over! Enjoy some Frankie :D
Gnam gnam! what do we have here?
Ready to go... wearing my stuff :)


Six Days risk extinction? article by Laura Grazioli

I found really interesting this article by my friend Laura Grazioli. She's my Track guide! read it in Italian here:
Sei Giorni: uno spettacolo destinato a continuare? © Bettiniphoto
Rotterdam Six Days
Six days are amoungh the oldest cycling shows in Europe. Berlin Six Days will celebrate in Janary 101 years and we are talking about a great history and tradition that always filled velodromes in crowd. Six Days aren't a simple cycling race at night in a velodrome, they are competition  created to be a show, with music, concerts,  party till late in the night. You could say nothing is more actual then a Six Days. Nervertheless those big showsare suffering by a deep crisis since a few years, every year we risk to lose one of them and it's year by year more difficult to organize the new ones (just look at Hannover: cancealed at the last minute, contracts already signed). It is only an economic problem dued to the general economic crisis involving all the world (not just cycling) or reasons must be found also elsewhere? Lets try to analyse different situations.
Six Days cisis in Germany doesn't involve only the economic problem but also the ethic one: doping troubles pushed sponsors away from cycling hiting especially Six Days sofar considered as a 'cycling party'. A 3th factor must be added to the previous two: the wicked decision by the UCI to eliminate from the Olympic program Points race and Madison, Six Days traditional disciplines. That caused a lose of interest by the audience but also by the athletes who no longer use Six Days to prepare the Olympic Games. 
What if the crisis had also another side? Could really be actual a show 100 yo? and if that was the problem what could be the solution?
Differentiation of progamme bacame one of the most used solution. Traditional trials reserved to the competing couple - Madison, Points Race, Elimination Race or Devil Scratch, Scratch and Derny - have been replaced by a very large programme including all disciplines of track cycling, with races reserved to Juniores and Under23, women, Stayers and Sprinters. The programme is very long and trials reserved to the official couples are few but it makes a really various show.  Even that pattern thoughtis losing its appeal moreover for Six Days that use it since a longer time, probably because every evening the programme is very similar. Should be a good idea to try monothematic days? One day could be dedicated to sprinters, one to women and so on. That could make it more interesting for the audience and worth of more then one go.
Zurich Six Days - organized by the great sprinter Urs Freuler - launched an innovative but controversial pattern: only 4 days and a new name, "Six-Day Nights". No doubts there were also economic reasons - to save money - but trying to explain all by that would be a superficial interpretation. Urs Freuler wanted to show a different point of view:  people can chose amongh many and many differents amusements nowadays, Christmas Market, Circus, a theater Musical were available in Zurich at the same time as the last day of the "Six-Day Nights". A Six Days concentrated in 4 allows people to take advantage of different possibilities of amusement. That innovation has obviously faults: the programme is too long (more then 8hours!), but given that also the Grenoble Six Days will adopte it  next year, we could face a new concept Six Days we would be better to call Four Days.
Claudio Santi, since 14 years the organizer of Firenzuola Six Days - in July it will be the 15th edition of the race - gives us his opinion: «Urs Freuler is competent and smart but can't change history: the name Six Days tells the length of those races and even UCI rules are clear, a trial called Six Days last six consecutive days for a race  length of 24 hours at least.  We accepted it as UIV (International Union of Velodroms) as an esperimental try and probably will do also next year but witha different name not as Zurich Six Days. But the risk is there will be no more Six Days, they are disapearing, will reamin just six or seven. Six Days still are an enjoyable show in XXI cent. but they have to be attended. Finally track cycling is linked to road cycling. To solve track problems, road troubles must be solved before."
My son and I watched Zurich show in streaming. In spite we both love cycling and he is quite a good track expert we found it boring. Exciting, amusing and even funny the first time, with the winners extra laps, lights and music... Boring when you see the menu is monotonous. Personally I can't stand the Derny race and like a lot Elimitation race and sprints: to dedicate a day to each discipline sounds a good idea. And to shorten the evnt - 4 days, even 3 ending on Sunday - seems realistic: UCI rules can even change!


Yes we like.... Eugenio Alafaci


I noticed him in last World Championships and was really happy to find him in Calpe with the Continental Team Leopard Trek. That interview is the obvious consequence. Lets know him better ;) 
Ilaria - Hi Eugenio, introduce yourself: When were you born? And where?
Eugenio - Cantù (Como) 9
th of August 1990
Your height and weight?
1.87 , 77kg
When did you start cycling?
7 yo, as a G2
For wich teams did you race till now? and wich is your actual team? 
Since G2 till Allievo GS San Pietro, the same team as Ivan Basso. Two jears as junior, Pedale Castanese and U23 Team Lucchini, now I got pro with Leopard Trek 
Wich were your best results and the more important races you took part in?
5th in juniores World Championships in Cape Town, 10th in European RR Championships in Arona and 9th in TT, I won an Italian Track championship and many other races. I took part in World Champioship juniores e under 23   
So Eugenio, how are you?
I'm very well. I find my self in new world and am really determinated to grow up and to give the best of myself to try to become a good racer. All I did sofar is over now, now I must work hard for my future, and I'm looking forward!!  
You are just back from the training camp of your new team: Leopard Trek but in a larger project involving RadioShack Nissan Trek. Tell us about that experience: what did you do, how did you feel...
In Calpe all was great! I passed from watching in tv champions like Bennati Cancellara the Schleck(s) and all the others to riding with them, siting at the same table, a dream that becomes true. Here we started training by bike, the weather was perfect and it has been for sure my best experience in cycling ever.
Did you already know Baffi?
Yes, I did because I was in the same team with his son Pietro, but I didn't know him very well, I knew him as a previous great racer and dad of a friend of mine!! 
And your mates? I think you knew Brambilla because you raced in the same cathegories. And the others? Which language do you speak with them?
Brambilla is 2 years older then me but yes I knew him quite well. I talk English with the other guys... but I still have to learn it better.
Season 2011: are you happy with your results?
Yes I can say that sums up I managed to do a quite good season... in spite the bad luck: a mononucleosis and a surgery stoped me for 3 months.
You took part in Worl Champioships: was it your first time? How did you live that experience?
WC have been great! I had already taken part as a junior but each time you wear the Italia jersey it's a new emotion!! 
About Worlds: there have been some polemics. Italian National Team – yours but also the elite one – did any mistakes in your opinion or simply the others were stronger?
My national team didn't make mistakes in my opinion: French guys showed they were stronger. About the pros, I think they didn't understand each other well, Bennati must have been helped much more.
In Italy guys become profesional riders later then in other countries. That aims to protect the development of youths avoiding to 'burn' them in too hard experiences. In that way thought Italian young talents are often late with regard to peers and often lost their way. What's your opinion?
I think Italian cycling would need to be completely changed....In my opinion foreing Continental teams are good to make grow up well us young riders.
Which was your best day in 2011?
I don't know. In the WC I felt really good but in many other races I also felt good but because of different reasons couldn't win.
 ...and the worst?
The day I must stop to get that surgery.
Did you learn anything this year?
Many things, like every years
Which are your goals for the next season?
To understand which kind of racer I could become and - why not? - some good results.
I go now 3 days to Praga with 2 my cusins, since 20 to 22.
Back to you: which is your best quality?
I'm really friendly and nice, people say at least ;)
...and the worst?
I'm stubborn
And which is your dream race?
Milano San Remo and Paris-Roubex, but also Flanders isn't that bad, ahahaha!
Which is the racer you like more in the history of cycling? And now?
Now Cancellara and Gilbert, no doubts. In the past, Merckx .
How did you start racing?
We had got a neighbor who was a racer, he used to see me always on my bike so suggested to sign me in GS San Pietro and it was love at first sight.
Family and friends are important for you?
Basic, I would be lost without my family... They are all involved in my activity: my sister Veronica, my twin brother Fabio, my dad Domenico and mom Adriana!!but also all my uncles and cusins... Really, they are always there!
Which studies did you do or are doing?
Geometra (Note by Me: That's a commercial school)
Ok. We want know you better! what do you like to do in your spare time?
I go out with friends
What is your favourite music?
And your favourite movie?
.. favourite book?
I don't really like reading
Your favourite country?
Roma and Londra
Your favourite food?
All about brek-fast... I love brek-fast
Finally: this blog is especially dedicated to Andy Schleck. You trained together and shared the team camp: tell us your impressions.
The Schleck(s) - Andy especially is a great champion - are very friendly and modest, I got a very good impression of them.
Thank you very much, Eugenio. Good luck and see you soon on the road!
Thank you.

Ciao Eugenio, presentati: quando sei nato? E dove?
Sono nato a Cantù in provincia di Como il 09-08-1990
Altezza e peso
Sono alto 1.87 e peso 77kg
Quando hai cominciato a correre in bici?
Ho cominciato ad andare in bici a 7 anni da g2
Per quali squadre hai corso fin'ora e qual'è la tua squadra attuale?
Da g2 fino ad alievo ho corso per la GS San Pietro, squadra con la quale ha corso anche Ivan Basso, i due anni da junior ho corso con il Pedale Castanese e da dilettante con il team Lucchini, ora approdo al professionismo con la Leopard Trek
Quali sono i tuoi risultati migliori e le corse più importanti cui hai partecipato?  
I miei risultati migliori sono stati un quinto posto ai Campionati Mondiali da junior a Citta del Capo, un decimo agli erurepei di Arona e nono all'europeo a crono sempre ad Arona, un campionato italiano in pista e tante altre belle vittorie. Ho partecipato ai Campionati del Mondo juniores e under 23  
AlloraEugenio, come stai?
Sto benissimo, mi ritrovo in un nuovo mondo, e sono molto determinato a crescere, ed a dare il meglio di me stesso per cercare di diventare un buon corridore, ora tutto quello che ho fatto fin'ora è passato, ora devo lavorare sodo per il mio futuro, e non vedo l'ora!! 
Sei appena tornato dal training camp della tua nuova squadra: Leopard Trek ma nell'ambito di un progetto più ampio con la RadioShack Nissan Trek. Raccontaci di questa esperienza: cosa avete fatto, come ti sei trovato...
A Calpe è stato tutto bellismo, sono passato dal vedere in televisione campioni come Bennati, Cancellara, gli Schleck e tutti gli altri ad andare in bici con loro, sedermi allo stesso tavolo, un sogno diventato realtà. Qui abbiamo iniziato ad allenarci in bici, come clima si stava da dio ed è stata sicuramente l'esperienza piu bella che abbia fatto nel mondo del ciclismo.
Conoscevi già Baffi?
Sì, lo conoscevo perchè ho corso in squadra con suo figlio Piero, ma non lo conoscevo molto bene, diciamo che lo conoscevo come grande ex corridore e come papà di un mio amico!! 
E i tuoi compagni di squadra? Brambilla lo conosci se non altro perché avrete corso nelle stesse categorie. E gli altri? In che lingua ci parli?
Brambilla è piu vecchio di me di 2 anni, ma lo conoscevo abbastanza bene...con gli altri la lingua è l'inglese, ma devo ancora imparare bene la lingua.
Stagione 2011: sei soddisfatto dei tuoi risultati?
Sì, posso dire che tutto sommato sono riuscito a tirare fuori una discreta stagione... Molto sfortunata, in quanto ho avutoo una mononucleosi e un'operazione che mi hanno tenuto 3 mesi fermo...
Hai partecipato ai Mondiali: era la prima volta? Che esperienza è stata?
Ai Mondiali è stato bellissimo, avevo gia partecipato da junior, ma ogni volta che si mette la maglia dell'Italia è  sempre una nuova emozione!!
A proposito dei Mondiali: ci son state molte polemiche. Secondo te la nazionale italiana - la tua ma anche quella elite – ha sbagliato qualcosa o semplicemente gli altri erano più forti?
La mia nazzionale non penso abbia sbagliato nulla. .i francesi si sono dimostrati superiori. Per quanto riguarda i pro, io sono convinto che non si siano capiti molto tra di loro, Bennati doveva essere aiutato molto di piu..
In Italia si passa professionisti più tardi che molti altri paesi. L'idea è di tutelare lo sviluppo dell'adolescente e non bruciarlo in esperienze troppo impegnative, così però i giovani talenti italiani arrivano spesso in ritardo rispetto ai coetanei e spesso si perdono per strada. Che ne pensi?
Penso che il movimento italiano andrebbe rivisto tutto...sono favorevole a realtà di squadre continental estere, per far crescere bene noi giovani.
Qual è stato il tuo giorno migliore nel 2011?
Non saprei, ai Mondiali mi sentivo davvero molto bene, ma ci sono state molte altre gare che mi sentivo benissimo ma per un motivo o per un altro ho sfiorato la vittoria..
 ...e il peggiore?
Il giorno che ho dovuto fermare la mia attività per essere operato..
Hai imparato qualcosa quest'anno?
Molto, come ogni anno...
Quali sono i tuoi obiettivi per la prossima stagione?
Capire bene che tipo di corridore posso diventare e perchè no magari fare qualche bel piazzamento...
Vado adesso 3 giorni a Praga con due miei cugini, dal 20 al 22.
Torniamo a te: quanl'è la tua qualità migliore?
Sono molto disponibile e simpatico, almeno così dicono.
...e la peggiore?
Qual'è la corsa dei tuoi sogni?
Milano - San Remo e Parigi - Roubex, ma anche il Fiandre non mi dispiace ahahah
Qual è il corridore che ti piace di più nella storia del ciclismo? E adesso?
Senza dubbio Cancellara e Gilbert di ora e Mercx del passato.
Come hai cominciato a correre?
Un mio vicino di casa correva, e vedendomi sempre in bici ha provato a iscrivermi alla GS San Pietro ed è stato amore a prima vista
La famiglia e gli amici sono importanti per te?
Fondamentali, senza la mia famiglia sarei perso...sono tutti coinvolti nella mia attività, da mia sorella Veronica a mio fratello gemello Fabio e papà Domenico e mamma Adriana!! ma anche tutti gli zii e cugini...davvero sempre presenti.
Che studi hai fatto o stai facendo?
Ok. Vogliamo conoscerti meglio! Cosa fai nel tempo libero?
Esco con gli amici
Qual'è la tua musica preferita?
Tutti i generi
Film preferito?
Libro preferito?
Non mi piace molto leggere
Paese preferito?
Roma e Londra
Cibo preferito?
Tutto ciò che fa parte della colazione...amo la colazione
Interessante! Infine: questo blog è dedicato in particolare a Andy Schleck. Vi siete allenati insieme e avete condiviso il ritiro: raccontaci le tue impressioni :)
Gli Schleck - sopratutto Andy è un gran campione - sono molto disponibili e molto umili, mi hanno fatto un'ottima impressione...
Grazie mille Eugenio. Buona fortuna e ci vediamo alle corse!
Grazie a te.


Andy and Frank Schleck training in Gent track


I Fell In Love For Johan Bruyneel - Calpe reportage 5

"You are not persuaded thought" Johan Bruyneel just answered – or not answered - my question about the Giro and no, I am not. But I'm impressed by the fact he sees I am not. We sit close, my face it's an open book, the point is he looks at it. The interview goes on. He comes in a few others time and some journalists ask him directly: "I talk at 6" he points out "That's for them". The Schleck(s) seem glad he explains things because, you must admit, he's good at it. On my way back from the forbiden RTL interview – just for Luxembourg – I see he begane his speech. It's often interesting watching from the outside of a situation: they are a small informal group, siting close on frivolous white sofas and excluding a video camera by Cyclingnews nothing really makes you think it's a press conference or an interview. I am not very interested but have few other to do so sit down and listen, my notebook open on my knees, my eyes still wanderind out the windows, to RTL set.
"We got the license yersterday" Bruyneel is saying "No, I am not angry. I'm frustrated. Very often people find new things scaring, are afraid by changes. Not me. We hard forked on this project, put together all was needed. We were asked [by the UCI] things that are not in the rules. But what could we do? We had no choice but fulfil those requests." Nobody dare to ask what exactly. In general questions are few, deferent or biased: an answer isn't expected. But he doesn't need questions: perfectly knows what we want to know and directly tells it. It isn't true he doesn't accept objections, he just shows an admirable coolness bordering indifference. The more he talks the more I'm fascinated.
"No, it isn't true that we met resistences by riders or staff. Of course in that kind of operations there is a stage when things are still personal, even secret. It can't be different. Some riders had gotten doubts, that's normal. But they changed their mind after our first meeting and talk. It's a process you can't force, they must feel confortable not just on their bike. I told them: - I own everybody an explaination - ", "Cancellara expressed his malaise...He told newspapers he wan't enthusiast to work with...", "That isn't exact." I rise my eyes and watch him better: he isn't puting on the plait all the power he has but he does have it and you can feel it. The power of a strong character I mean, of an amazing career and of amazing achievements. The lights but also the shadows of a big name in cycling. Prudence is the code all here are using, don't get confused by the gentlness and feign familiarity. "Fabian wasn't suspicious, he had doubts like everybody. We talked. He got persuaded and strongely believes in the project.", "But he said...", "We have here the author of the book. What did he say?". "It isn't in the book" the Swiss writer admits, "But...", "There are no quotes", "But...". Bruyneel – Jurnos 1 – 0 . I'm delighted.
Lets change the subject: "Would you like to see Contador at the start of next Tour de France?", "Absolutely yes. That would be good for the sport. He is the best rider in big tours of the last..." he weighs the words "...five years. It would be bad if he's banned." There is a grumbling but again no direct objections. "It would be very bad. That isn't a normal case you see. The lenght of it shows it isn't. It that was a normal case we were not here waiting for a sentence after one year." I wonder what makes that case special given that clembuteranol is forbiden with no regard to its amount and a few other riders already got a bann for it. It occurs to me that it's special because Contador isn't a second row athlete but – in his words – "the best rider in big tours of the last five years". His bann would be bad for the show: no doubts.
"It will be hard to beat him if he starts and is in a top shape. We must use strategy, not just wait for top finshes or TT. We must use all the team. We must risk, gamble. Farank and Andy must be ready and at a certain level earlier, and conserve it all the year. There are many other problems during the seasons – crashes, illness, badluck – you can't add a lack of shape. Last year for example Andy was disappointing in Tour de Suisse. In Tour of California his shape was ok.... But when you target the Tout in Tour de Suiss you must be ready, you don't have to win it but to finish in the top ten yes."
I close my notebook, just listen to him like drinking his words. He has got a peculiar and beautiful way to talk, articulated and vivid, serious but with the implication that here it's just a 'pour-parler'. "Before you write them, then facts happen" he said onec. When an old reporter allows himself a critic – mild and kind of discouraged - gets a friendly and aggresive : "We know each others since a long time me and you, so..." What is the press for? Team press officers aren't enough? There are roporters looking for the 'truth' and reporters interested in sketching a story. I apreciate inquiries but belong to the second group.
Barry Ryan by Cyclingnews asks Bruyneel about the 'breacking league'. I guess you read about it: some team managers, some economic actors ('big sponsors' to be short), some races organizers and also some riders are been told to be ploting in order to bring the big events in cycling out of the UCI building a separate circuit directly managed. Bruyneel's answer is both cold and hot: "Of course I read what you wrote about it. The term 'breacking league' has been use for the first time by the UCI itself I think.", "You have been linked to it....", "See, the truth is that lately sport as organization of big events developed itself notably. Cycling is behind in that. I don't mean we must do like football, because cycling is different. We don't own stadiums. Cycling is for free. Teams depend on the uncertain revenues of sponsors and on an organization where decisions are made without the partecipation of all. Things must to change. It's fair that the UCI set the rules - with the agreement of all the subjects involved – but shouldn't mix itself with events management." [WARNING: that's a synthesis but I showed it to RSNT press officer offering to correct quotes in case there was something wrong, they say it was ok].
"Should teams make money?" a voice at my left softy asks, as if it was a blaphemy. "Not make money! But it's evident that sponsorship system doesn't work anymore: we are in the impossibility of planning long term because every two or four years we must find a new sponsor. It's vital for cycling that teams find a different source of revenues." I must admit – at least with myself – that makes sense completely. However I don't share one words. Things aren't just right or wrong, possible or impossible. There are different possibilities and concepts. That looks like a 'commercial' or 'global marketing' concept of cycling. Although what really impresses me it's that Bruyneel seems to hold it for the pure love of that sport.
I listen and don't write down notes because I want to understand not just to remember. Who is in cycling knows that teams don't make money but cost a lot. To find money to go on, to find a sponsor, to assure that salaries will be payed, to buy bikes and clothes, cars and oil: that's the nightmare of every team managers and team owners. To say: "You want to make money with cycling" is offensive. Those are people who live and fight for their passion. But it doesn't work, you can't say it's the right way. Aiming to a different organization of cycling where teams (and riders hopefully) can decide more and planning long term is aiming to a better cycling. That involves different and surer sources of revenues. Capitalism isn't a ideological invention. Call it 'market' if you prefer.
The speech is over, the day too. Reportes are scattered in the piano bar room each one working on his article or pictures in a soft, diffused artificial light. At a table Joe is interviewing Laurent Didier. I see Johan Bruyneel passing and catch his glimpse: "You didn't persuade me about Tour de France and Giro" I say when he comes closer "He didn't persuade you?", "Also you". Here a weird conversation starts, half public half private – private for me, nothing private involving him of course – but I can't skip it completly. First of all I must say that he read throught me like throgh a glass, second that I fell in love. Intellectually ;)
"You are a very interesting person" I say "You have got a personality, a character. I don't mean to flatter you eh...", "I have opinions", "And you tell them. Few people do. Of course I read many things about you...", "Not all bad things I hope", "Well... both bad and good." Standing in the half shadow of the evning we talk again about Andy Schleck: "Understand me" I explain "I am sure he can win the Tour, even next Tour. He's my favourite rider, he can win everything. But he must start winning something. Anything.", "Yes, I see. You say ok the big races but also the small races are goals...", "More then that. Also Cadel Evans won his Tour when he went over his Tour obsession. He did very well in the Giro, won Tirreno. Victories are good for morale and selfconfidence....After three second places in the Tour he lost it a bit in my opinion. He should start not to train but to win in every races: the Giro but also Tirreno, also Strade Bianche...", "All in Italy, ehehe!", "Ah, but I go everywhere, that isn't a problem", "You came here just for that...", "Just for him", "That costs time", "I find it", "...and money..." He seems to weigh up. Like in the 'press conference', he seems to hold everything you say without really giving you an answer. But you get the impression he listens to you.
"I wanted to ask you about Daniele Bennati... How do you see him? His season was... well, not disappointing but...", "Yes, I don't remember exctly how he did because I wasn't in the team. But I think he's good.", "He made a lot of second places and podiums. He's very good but in the crucial moment he often misses something. He's a little unsure maybe...", "Yes, he's not a Cavendish. But he can do pretty well, and also in the Classics."
That's all. Let me say it's a lot. Johan Bruyneel is one of the most fascinating person I have ever met. I keep my prudence but in a certain way he persuaded me. "It's a big challenge" he said about the new team "But I like big challenges." Me too.

Andy Schleck in Calpe Pics Spam 2


Coldplay - Live in Köln ;)

BMC 2012 aims to win everywhere

BMC 2012 is going to be a very dangerous team. His roster is absolutely impressive. Critics wondered if adding stars with different goals would be a good choice, if the arrive of Gilbert would have made Evans stronger or weaker. BMC management has no doubts.
In the press release announcing the next season roster Ochowicz says: "The arrive of new riders will make stronger a team that finished 5th in the UCI ranking 2011. We open the new season with a roster that will allow us to win every races we will start in". Victory is the aim in every races and BMC has got the right man for each one: Cadel Evans for the big tours, Philippe Gilbert for one day races, joung riders like Mathias Frank, Klaas Lodewyck, Taylor Phinney, Michael Schär, Tejay Van Garderen and Greg Van Avermaet. 
For John Lelangue BMC main goals are two: to defend Evans's title in Tour de France and to be competitive in the Classics. The two goals make each other stronger, in fact "Classics specialists can well support Cadel in any circumstances"
Cadel Evans is "eager to start another great season" with old and new team mates. The most famous of them, Philippe Gilbert says: "Pas de pression"  and  assures he already feel the full support of his new team: basic element to confirm the amazing results of the last season. "J'essai de tout le temps donner le meilleur de moi. Je ne pense pas qu'à gagner. Je garde tout le temps la même motivation que j'ai gagne ou pas." ["I try everytime to do my best. I don't think just to win. I keep all the time the same motivation, wheather I win or not".]
Amongh the stellar guard of Cadel Evans we find World Champions like Thor Hushovd and Alessandro Ballan, the three times USA National Champion George Hincapie, the Swiss TT National Champion  Martin Kohler and the previous USA abd Italy TT Nationa Champions Taylor Phinney and Marco Pinotti. New entries are Stephen Cummings et Tejay Van Garderen, last Paris-Tours winner Greg Van Avermaet. 
George Hincapie, 19 years in the pros peloton, a true cyling hero, will start next summer in his 17th Tour de France, signing the record for number of partecipations.
Thor Hushovd says : «I'd like to do well in Milan-San Remo, Tour des Flandres and Paris-Roubaix. My dream has always been to win Paris-Roubaix and now, in such a strong team, my motivation is even stronger»
Taylor Phinney hope in a better season then 2011, ruined by illness, and looks forward to race with his new team mates "Thor and Philippe Gilbert but especially my old friend Tejay I knew sinece we were Juniores". He admits he also made some mistakes but wants to show his team what he's worth of. And he's worth of much! good luck guy!
Greg Van Avermaet targets the spring Classics. Tejay Van Garderen is ready to help his leaders. Alessandro Ballan still aims to take part in his first Giro but his goals remain Tour des Flandres, Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo. Steve Morabito is happy with the new entries and believes BMC got biger but kept his 'family mood'. His goals are the same as the last year: Tour de Romandie and Amgen Tour of California. In add he will support Cadel Evans in  Dauphiné and Tour de France.
We will see. For sure nobody can underate this Armada.

Roster  2012 BMC Racing Team:
Alessandro Ballan (ITA), 
Adam Blythe (GBR), 
Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus
Burghardt (GER), Stephen Cummings (GBR), 
Yannick Eijssen (BEL),
Cadel Evans (AUS), 
Mathias Frank (SUI), 
Philippe Gilbert (BEL), 
George Hincapie
Thor Hushovd (NOR), 
Martin Kohler (SUI), 
Klaas Lodewyck (BEL),
Amaël Moinard (FRA), 
Steve Morabito (SUI), 
Taylor Phinney (USA), 
Marco Pinotti (ITA), 
Manuel Quinziato (ITA), 
Tim Roe (AUS), 
Mauro Santambrogio (ITA), 
Ivan Santaromita (ITA), 
Michael Schär (SUI), 
Johann Tschopp (SUI),
Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), 
Tejay Van Garderen (USA), 
Danilo Wyss (SUI).
President/General Manager:
Jim Ochowicz (USA)
Andy Rihs (SUI)
John Lelangue (BEL)
Assistant SD
Fabio Baldato (ITA)
Michael Sayers (USA)
Max Sciandri (GBR/ITA)
Rik Verbrugghe (BEL)


In short: Kloden about Schleck(s) in last (and next) Tour by Cyclingnews

There is a nice interview with Kloden here: 
read it all :)
In short:
1. In last TdF Andy and Frank lost time in looking for each other: “One brother needs to say next year, ‘ok, I will go on the attack and you go on the counter-attack’ but this year, they rode like brothers. Each looked for the other, and this is not the right tactic"
2. Two bros on the podium is nice but this time victory is the only goal: "It was nice for the Schlecks to be second and third, but it’s not our goal to be third and second – we want to win.
3. A different tattic: "You need to attack earlier."
4. ...and with a stronger team you can: "I think also that this year the Leopard Trek guys were a good team but not strong enough on the climbs. You have a limited tactic with what you can do if you have only two strong guys. I remember in 2009 [...] we had a very good team and there were more things you could do.”
5 ...not only on top finshes: “You saw this year, I think we had four uphill finishes, but on the uphill finishes, nobody attacked and everybody had almost the same time on the top. I remember in 2009 when the Schlecks went on the attack on Le Grand-Bornand. They attacked before and then again on the last climb, so sometimes it’s better if you don’t have a mountaintop finish and you have some big climbs beforehand instead. Everybody is saying it is not a Tour for the Schlecks but I don’t think so.”


"I Want To Win De Tuer" - Calpe reportage 4

Frandy. That's I think when they arrive, after the training session and directly from the shower. "We are never been so close" Andy said in last Tour de France and you can see it. They look alike, moreover because Andy growing up lost his baby face. Cyclists get old early. Frank looks more like their dad thought, Andy (and Steve) like their mother. But their character couldn't be more different: open and relaxed, Frank answers easily to every questions in a very good English. I always think he likes press conferences and to share his thought. Andy doesn't. He is no more the brilliant kid who used to inchant the journalists, you'd say he's more serious and a little distant, even annoyed. Then he strikes you with a joke, a rascal smile shining just a second in his eyes. "Is English ok for everybody?" Bruyneel asks looking around. We are from everywhere like in some funny stories. "Japanese? Danish?" Andy drolly says. "Italian..." I add. "Italian..." he smiles me back.
Once more I wasn't very smart: Tim Vanderjeugd, the team press officer, had written in his invite: "In the afternoon and early evening the riders will be available at a press conference or for interviews – depending on the amount of demands. Please confirm your presence and requests." My request was only and simply: "I'd like to interview Andy Schleck". What a surprise, isn't it? Well, I wasn't the only one, you can imagine, so they arranged a collective interview with both the Schleck(s). I could interview face to face somebody else if I ask and to take part in that small press conference. Next time! I'm glad to sit side by side with guys like Barry Ryan (Cyclingnews), Joe Geimer (Wort.lu) and a few other reporters by the best cycling newspaper in the world. Amongh them, also the very Swiss author of Fabian Cancellara's biography. BDW he was staying at my hotel: honoured!You learn something just listening their questions.
I'm not going to report all. It wouldn't make sense and you already read it better somewhere else. We start asking, they start answering, slowly, from the edge to the center I'd say. Bruyneel sits as a facilitator: controls, helps, guides.
"It's an easy training yet" Andy says "Of course we already did some work at home. It's just to know each others, we change group everyday. Many guys I knew.". Frank is enthusiast – as usual, unless he's pissed: "Here it's great. We can ride. We were lucky with the weather at home but here the climate is different. Definitely yes: it's better then last year in Cran Montana. We can start doing some specific and different works on the road and also try materials. Not just the bike: also shoes, clothes... ", "Last year that had not been possible" Andy animatedly agrees. You see that's an important point for them. And how could it be different? They are going to spend whole days on those shoes, on that clothes. I noticed for example their jerseys have a special stuff in soft fabric to cover the upper part of the zip avoiding it annoys their neck.
A Spanish journalist asks them about Contador's case, their answer is still the same: "I am a cyclist, I want to beat him on the road. I am not a toxicologist" Andy repeats slightly irritated "I'll stay at the court verdict. As I say, it's black or white for me: if he's acquited he's free to race, if he's condemned he did something against the rules and must get a bann.". "Would you like to see him at the start of next Tour de France?" somebody insists "Of course". The subject is geting sticky. The Schleck brothers – and Bruyneel later – have no will to give journalists the moral blame of doping they would like to hear.
I prepared two questions but ask just one. The one I dismiss is: "Who decided to catch Contador in the Alp d'Huez stage in last Tour de France? You or Kim Andersen?" I already told my opinion here: http://allezandy.blogspot.com/2011/12/in-short-horner-about-andy-and-tour-de.htmland am glad to see Horner agrees. I ask instead: "Andy, you are not going to do the Giro but next Tour doesn't suit you that much. I'd like to know the reasons of that choice given that I don't think you and the team decided only because of feelings." Was my question weird? Was my English bad? My voice is probably trembling a little, I concede that. Andy turnes toward me and even bends as he uses to do to understand better.
"I want to winn de Tuer" he begins firmly "That's my main goal. Then nothing is decided yet, my schedule isn't fixed.... Wait... What is the question?" Well! "The question is why no the Giro." There is a quite comic moment when Andy says: "It isn't true that next Tour isn't hard. There is that Place des belles filles...." [Place of pretty girls in French ;) ], "La Planche des Belles Filles..." Frank corrects, "Ah, c'est une Planche... Anyway....".
"Can I answer that one?" Bruyneel comes in "We didn't decide their schedule yet. We must be flexible. Some things we know: we'll have a second training camp in January in Mallorca, Andy will go to Oman for his first time" THAT'S A NEWS I didn't find anywhere. "Then they will do Paris-Nice." and no Tirreno-Adriatico: THAT'S A NEWS too and not a good one for me. "It isn't a goal for them. They can do well, you once finished second Frank, don't you?" Frank nods respectfully "But the big goal is Tour de France. There are also the Classics of course. Then we want to win in many races but Tour de France remains the goal." It's like a mantra. Universe does exist... but just one point on the map is real. Andy should agree. In fact... "We can't decide now the group for the Tour. Before Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse we'll have a training camp and we'll decide who will go, also with regard to their shape and condition." "Andy, are you not going to start if your condition isn't good?" a clever collegue asks. "I'll start anyway, even if my condition isn't the best". Of course.
We turn back to the last season now: no victories. In short Frank says that in the Classics Gilbert was too strong. In the Tour Evans was too strong. I agree that winning isn't easy in cycling: there are ten guys at least who want and can win each race. But when you fail you should try to detect reasons. Why Gilbert was stronger then you? "Ok, I want to be clear about that a last time" Frank protests: "In Liège we couldn't attack him in the flat. He [Andy] told me: on the climbs I attack first and if he responds you stay on his wheel. Then you attack. So we did. I was very disciplinated in my attacks. He responded always and then you couldn't stay on his wheal anymore." Honestly I was there, saw it and agree. They couldn't do more. The only things I say: if Frank wasn't there, Andy sprinted for the second place. Just my opinion. Later somebody suggest Bruyneel they are too close and should be better to separe them in some important races but he doesn't give an answer because it's impossible. To answer I mean: it isn't really on him. "It has been missed a little bit".
To talk about the last Tour de France seems hard because they are already launched toward the next one, the three of them. "Evans was stronger. We knew we couldn't wait the last TT, we must gain in the mountains and that we did." No way to discuss why they didn't enough. In the Pyrennes for example, where Andy looked like to wait for Frank and the shared leadership wasn't exactly an advantage. In the Alps, where Andy achieved a superb victory on the Galibier – just the name and we cycling addicted jump in excitement – but made the big mistake to do the race on Contador instead then focusing on the most dangerous Evans. Feelings not reasons can explain that. But to win the Tour you need both: brain and soul.
I drop my second question and we talk about how to beat those formidable TT specialists AND climbers – Evans and Contador – in next Tour that looks designed for them. "We must play strategies, to use the team, to attack when all the others are tired. They [the Schleck(s)] must be brave. We don't want to make them TT specialists. They must and can improve their TT skill and we will do anything to help them. But that mustn't get an obsession".
The schedule isn't fixed yet but the next World Championships suit the Luxembourgers better then the last one, almost flat. "Yes, it's a goal. We will try to keep a good condition till the end of the season." Frank explains. Polemics about Andy's (no) partecipation in the last WC(s) (he retired in Varese and Mendrisio, didn't start in Australia and Denmark) still are in the air. "I'm proud to represent my country" he points out "It's a honour for every athletes". The Luxembourgish tv RTL is ready for a face to face interview in the hotel garden. I try to join but Tim stops me: "That's only for Luxembourg". What am I studying Luxembourgish for?

Next post: "I Fell In Love For Bruyneel". Stay tuned ;)