Eroica or L’Eroica19 September, 2019
The names look nearly the same, but that little Italian article – connected to its noun with an apostrophe – has generated some questions and confusion over the years. Because that little article distinguishes L’Eroica from the others that were created later, in the wake of L’Eroica and through the determination of Giancarlo Brocci. He decided 22 years ago that a territory “without highways and railways” that had made its fortune exactly out of this absence, could be the setting of an extraordinary bike race. We have had the pleasure of writing a lot in the past about L’Eroica and our faithful readers will remember the stories and descriptions. And once again we are here to remind them that L’Eroica will be held on the first Sunday of October, the 6th, and we are really looking forward to it.
This year in particular, the Magazine also wants to remember Felice Gimondi, who passed away on August 16th. He always came to Brolio and completed L’Eroica on his bike, together with his daughter and their friends. And with the spirit of a great sportsman, he attended the dinner that every year takes place in Gaiole on Saturday evening under the big tent. Our bottles of Brolio wine are always on all the tables there in homage to the great project of Brocci and to our continually renewed role as Global Sponsor of the event. L’Eroica also wishes to honor the memory of Felice Gimondi and from this year there will be an extra route, named after him: the Gimondi route will be 106 kilometers winding through towns, on unpaved roads, in a new setting.
As mentioned above, L’Eroica is one and only one, and it runs from Gaiole in Chianti along unpaved roads and up unforgettable hills – the most evocative of which is the climb up to Brolio Castle itself. But Eroica – without an article – is held in many other places: besides the Tuscan versions, there is Eroica Japan, Eroica California, Eroica South Africa, and then the Spanish version, the German version, the British version. It’s indeed true that “the beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest” know no geographical boundaries or limits in translation.
Our home version, L’Eroica, has attracted an unprecedented number of enthusiasts. The participants are more than seven thousand and they come with friends and family, so that in the days before the race our wonderful territory is literally flooded with bicycles and people attired carefully and accurately as vintage cyclists. It has become a show to be admired! The search for the best “heroic” details is an activity that takes months of preparation and even the race package has become a collector’s item. This tin box is decorated every year with the poster of the current race and inside there are many surprises, including the indispensable bottle of Ricasoli 1141. And the Ricasoli 1141 bottle, that of Brolio Bettino, is the gift that L’Eroica heroes who ride the entire 209 km route receive.
Given all that, what better way to wait for L’Eroica than to spend a day in Brolio with a dedicated program? Because it is true that fatigue and conquest are in pole position, but the beauty around them is important, too.
Here is the 2019 program for Saturday, October 5: Waiting for the L’Eroica at Brolio.