Reportage 2. Just a talk

Not an interview. What we said remains between Andy and me. Don't imagine anything secret but it isn't to share. We didn't talk about cycling mostly but something about it came out of course so I put together some questions and answers estrapolating them from our conversation. 
It has been one of the best days in my life and I must thank Andy for his friendship that I consider my dearest treasure.
Before the start in Camaiore

I'm siting in a corner of that white sofa while Andy is just in front of me on another one. I'm sleepy and maybe I'm dreaming, anyway I lean my head on my hand and he watches me directly into the eyes.
- So what's the problem with you? - I ask. He looks a little surprised.
– I'm coming back.
- But I mean... Don't get angry, I always get angry when people make jokes about that, but in the descent you brake too much. It wasn't like that before. - He doesn't get angry. He's very relaxed instead and talks openly.
- I have been many months without racing. I crashed and broke my pelvis, then had inflamation, then went to China with pain... - You can see that pain passing through his eyes while he looks down for a moment.
- Yes... It was better to not go -
- But I wanted to go! I wanted to race! - he says animately. Who wrote he hasn't grinta doesn't know what he's about. In China he was suffering but still had a big smile at the finish because he was racing again. Earlier he told me he doesn't care what people say:
- I need to go and race for myself, to get fit again. It could be bad for people but it doesn't matter. -
- You are right – I agreed – And I think you are right to not tweet. -
- Before I do something and then I tweet – But now he goes on telling about his bad moment.
- Why they say you didn't train? - I ask
- I don't know! - he sounds more sorry than annoyed
- Where did you train? In Luxembourg? -
- In Luxembourg, at zero degrees. Then I had a training camp... -
- Yes, in Spain... -
- ... then I went to Australia -
- Also there it was maybe better to not go if you weren't in shape... - But he refuses again that way to see the thing:
- I wanted to go and needed to race. Then Tour Med... and I had had bronchitis: five days in bed with antibiotics! And then two days at home and off to Mallorca to train...- he wants to persuade me he's doing his best. I don't need to be persuaded: I know.
- You are around since a while now... - I try
- Eight years, yes. -
- It's a long time. Maybe you are just a little tired, that's normal... - he shakes his head:
- I'm stronger now. I only need to get fit again. I must believe in myself, more. -
We talk about other things, I ask how is Frank and he says he's fine but that story affected him deeply and Andy got obviously upset:
- He's my soulmate – he repeats closing his eyes in despair – We swore we never do that, it's a promise and now... - I recognize in his words the dignity and gravity of his family, I know they mean it. And again the hard life of a cyclist: he trained even six hours in Mallorca.
- The weather at least was good... -
- Mhm... - he looks at me with sad eyes. Not so good maybe: it's still cold, windy and wet. And it's hard to be away from home so long. Neverthless it's his life and I see he found back the joy of cycling, all included. He's happy to be back racing, eager to demonstrate what he's worth of:
- You are not three times second in the Tour if you are not good – he repeats.
- What do you do now? -
- Strade Bianche and then Tirreno – I'm a little surprised:
- But you are not in the start list of Tirreno -
- I am in – he tells firmly.
And 'firm' is the best adjective to describe him. Firm and sweet. That's all even if it's just a part. The rest is for myself, to be never forgot.

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