One half of Manual For Speed (Daniel Wakefield Pasley) has been living in an apartment in Sorrento Province of Naples, Italy for the last three days. Waiting for the 2013 Giro to begin, eating pizza, Naples is the birth place of pizza, and maintaining my commitment to the consumption of one unit (coppa) of gelato (cioccolato fondente) a day during my stay here.
Today was the team presentation. The 18-mile drive into the center of Naples from Sorrento took approximately one hour and forty-five minutes, which time was in fact a good time based on anecdotal evidence collected during the last 72 hours. The last two miles into Naples was bumper-to-bumper traffic three lanes wide on a one-lane road.11According to reliable sources inside Team Colombia, the riders feels V E R Y at home on the roads in Napoli. We (Daniel is with Castelli Agent Ian Marshall) parked in Piazza del Plebiscito and walked to Castel dell’Ovo (a bona fide castle on the sea in Naples) for “accreditation” and press.
Pre-presentation was a blur of half-naked Italians sun bathing on the rocks between the sea wall and the sea itself, a chaperoned group of 23 Italian girls between the ages of 17 and 20 dressed in black tights, tasteful white or blue low-top sneakers and a jersey belonging to one of the teams competing (each of the 23 girls accepted the flag of their respective/corresponding teams following the Team’s official Presentation entrance on stage via a big red Balocco-sponsored arch and a giant pink ramp), old olive-skinned dudes in kit and no helmets “cruising” on lugged old-timey bicis groupoed-out in pre-war campy, a rather unique yogi-inspired balancing-act, an Italian pink jeans and black blazer wearing announcer dude on stage addressing the crowd with, “don’t busta my ballsaaa,” and the Giro’s pink mountain squirrel known for “dormo come un ghiro.”
Presentation was a well amplified mix of hi-vis kit, monochromatic sneakers and Benny Benassi remixes of Crazy on Me, Hells Bells and similar.
MFS is here to follow the Giro itself as well as Team Garmin-Sharp and Team Colombia. Garmin was the last to present. While the riders waited in the street next to their mini-van I spoke with Nathan Hass about “boogieing” on his bike to (Cypress Hill’s) Insane in the Membrane as he crested Independence Pass during stage 4 of last years USAPC. We also talked about feather boas, mountain-top DJs, dancing in open-toed shoes and sandals in show of support for Professional Road Cycling and an incident Taylor Phinney had with a reckless whiskey bottle-wielding fan on the very same pass, only a day later. As we were wrapping-up a young Italian man in RadioShack hat and Beatles tee-shirt asked Nathan to autograph a magazine spread featuring Ryder Hesjedal. Nathan tried to explain to the young man that he was NOT the cyclist featured in that particular photo. Communication was strained due to language barriers/limitations. In the end it was determined the young man was not concerned with “that great” a level of detail and so Nathan signed the photo of Ryder.
Tomorrow, Stage One, is a Tyrrhenian Sea waterfront circuit one-hundred and thirty kilometers long.