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The Giro's Gritty Poetry, Through Buzzati's Eyes

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[Recycling some old posts today. By the time you get done reading, the rationale for doing so should be clear.]

As promised earlier, I have a couple excerpts from Dino Buzzati's Giro d'Italia that I wish to publish, hopefully not to the detriment of the publisher. Actually, earlier today I mentioned here that Amazon had only two copies of the book left, and now they're gone. So there... this is good for sales, right? Anyway, I should've thought of this earlier, but the actual publisher, VeloPress, seems to have unlimited copies for sale. Update! No they don't, but for the first time in eons there are several used copies on Amazon right now for a normal price ($17, as opposed to the $200 you usually see).

So without guilt or further ado, here's an excerpt you may have seen here once before, but makes a fine rerun. [I've got one more for tomorrow you won't have seen here already.]

[Talking about the sleeping domestiques on the eve of the start] He dreams, the little soldier of the roads, who has never heard the crowd roar his name, nor been lifted on to the shoulders of the delirious throng after his victory. He is dreaming of what all men at one time or another have an absolute need to imagine, otherwise life would be too hard to bear. He is dreaming of his Giro d'Italia... an awe-inspiring revenge. Right from the first stage, of course. At 106 kilometers from Palermo, where the road begins to climb rudely toward the Colle del Contrasto, more than 3,000 feet above sea level, out of the thundering ranks of racers, still as compact as a herd of buffalo, who leaps out, no other than he, the gregario, the unknown one, whose name children have never chalked on suburban walls, neither to encourage him, nor to denigrate him. Alone, he hurls himself like a madman up the steep ascent; and the others don't even pay any attention to him. "What an idiot," says someone who knows it all, "just the best way to do yourself in; in five minutes at most you will explode." But he continues to fly. As if carried by a supernatural impetus, he eats up switchback after switchback as if, instead of climbing, he was hurtling down the Stelvio or some other mountain pass. The others, in the rear, are now no longer visible. People along the road shout Bravo Bartali, but he shakes his head to make them understand that he is someone else. Who is he, then? No one recognizes him. In order to identify him, his number must be checked on the list printed in the newspaper. And panic runs through Sicily.