An annual exercise, the random quote from Dino Buzzati's cycling classic, The Giro d'Italia:
Bartali peels a banana with his teeth. For just two seconds, he focuses on the fruit. When he lifts his eye again he sees three racers breaking clear. "They are breaking away!" he hears someone shout. He flings the banana away. He leans over, stretches his backside in that odd way of his, flattening himself on the bicycle. And he speeds away.
He doesn't need to ask who they are. Coppi's silhouette seen from any perspective is well-planted in his brain. Then there is the pink jersey, Leoni. And little Pasotti. They are moving at top speed. Lucky for him, Bartali has the excellent Jomaux, one of his lieutenants, with him. The others, Astrua, Rossello, Biagioni, Cecchi, Fornara, will certainly not give him any help.
Thus it is practically on the flats, right where the danger seemed the least likely that the great duel, postponed from day to day, begins.
Bartali: to the devil with that damned banana. How is it possible that I let myself be taken by surprise like a child? Nothing other than a stupid blunder. And almost on the flat, where they fear me the least. "Come on Jomaux! Move faster!" But Jomaux can do just so much. And Coppi draws away.
Thanks to Amazon and their random sneak peeks. Past discussions of this most wonderful piece of literature here and here and here and here. Has it really been four years that I've harangued you guys about this book? Wow, time flies when you're regurgitating blog posts. Anyway, buy the book! OK, copies start in the $40 range, but you will not be disappointed.
Girbecco says: don't be a cheapskate!