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Coppa Bernocchi: Remember Italian Racing?

Italy_mediumThe Dog Days of August got you down? I can't quite say so; more like the Greyhound Days of August, where you sprint like mad or someone threatens to withhold your dinner or something. So it is with regret that I haven't managed to break through and focus on the Trittico Lombardo, three races on consecutive days across northern Italy, two of which have already happened. Davide Rebellin won the Tre Valle Varesine (OK, now I remember why I ignored it), and Sacha Modolo won the Coppa Agostini earlier Wednesday. That leaves Thursday's Coppa Bernocchi, a race which won't light up the comment threads, but is as good an excuse as any to remember why we love Italian cycling.

1. La Storia

I soooo love the official race bulletin, it seriously looks like something from the late 40s. But the Coppa Bernocchi is historical. It is named for Antonio Bernocchi, a renowned textile industry captain from the early 1900s who sponsored a pretty long list of institutions (hospital, education, etc.) as well as the arts in Legnano, home to the race that has borne his name since 1919. The honor roll is as colorfully Italian as they come: there are the big names like Coppi, Bartali, Moser, Saronni, Gimondi. There are legacy names which may or may not be related: a Paolini in 1975, a Masciarelli in 1983. Cino Cinelli scored the win in 1938. Aldo Moser won before his brother did. Roberto Gaggioli won before becoming famous on the US circuit.

2. La Corsa

OK, it's a sprinters' affair, but you have to love any race which runs five laps of il Piccolo Stelvio. Check it out:

Piccolo Stelvio - 2 Ottobre 2010 (via paoloernesto)

But this is a celebration of Legnano, and all the piccoli Stelvii in the world aren't going to stop a sprint from happening. Some wily attacking might, but when your honor roll includes Guido Bontempi, Danilo Napolitano, and Romans Vainsteins, you're not a race for the climbers. 

3. This Year

Defending winner Manuel Belletti won a stage of the Brixia Tour a month ago, so maybe he's gonna defend, but his teammate Modolo is on form. I know, nothing says SSR like "Colnago have multiple options." So then look for Visconti, Hondo, Guarnieri, Ginanni, Hutarovich, Napolitano, and my pick to win Marko Kump. Or Boy van Poppel. Or one of the classics guys like Cunego, DiLuca, Pozzato (did Captain Renault call for rounding up the suspects?), etc. So yeah, Go Marko!!

Feel free to use this as the Coppa B Live Thread. One will do. And delve in if you want to start the process of getting really excited for fall racing.