Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘pro cycling’

dino buzzati’s giro d’italia

A deep cut for my cycling friends, this essay reviews Italian playwright Dino Buzzati’s account of the 1949 Giro d’Italia. It originally appeared as a front of the book piece in Paved Magazine, and it fit the offbeat vibe of the place. If you can by chance find a copy of Buzzati’s book, I highly recommend it. A lengthy review essay like this one is so thoroughly a print artefact, it feels out of place here on the internet. But why the hell not? Words, we can put them anywhere we want, really. Also, history is fun. Let’s make more of it.


In 1949, Corriere della Sera sent Dino Buzzati to write about the Giro d’Italia. His daily reports are collected and translated in The Giro D’Italia: Coppi versus Bartali at the 1919 Tour of Italy. A novelist and playwright, Buzzati had never before followed the race. The editors plainly gave him a free hand, because Buzzati did not cover cycling in any normal sense of the word. Read Buzzati’s dispatches in vain for talk of time gaps and race leaders. The stage winner is rarely the lede: This is no straight-up story about a bike race.

Instead, Buzzati’s daily reports read as a series of dreamy, stream of consciousness essays. He is the master of overwriting with a style so wrong, it’s eventually beautifully right. And through the surface chaos, a consistent set of themes become clear over the course of his twenty dispatches from the Giro. Buzzati meditates on what it means to be Italian at that particular moment in history. He dreams in classical mythology and finds ghosts among the ruins. A bike race runs through it all.

Buzzati’s cycling vacation came at the height of one of the sport’s great rivalries. In 1949 Fausto Coppi had twice won the Giro d’Italia while Gino Bartali had three victories in Italy’s grand tour. Legend has portrayed the two riders as stark opposites, a perspective reinforced by the dramatic race reports of the time. Like a photographer peering through a pinhole, cycling’s writers of the 1940s could see only pieces of the whole, so they filled in the gaps with their own inventions.

Read more

why is there no women’s tour de france?

The Tour de France is a sprawling pandemonium of bike racing, product launches, and roadside parties. But the sport’s biggest event, the Tour itself, has largely left women riders out of the festivities. This year, they’ll participate for just two days, in a race called La Course, which runs ahead of the men’s race.

Why is there no Tour de France for women? Ask 12-time World Champion Marianne Vos, and she’ll laugh and say in her distinctive, Dutch-inflected English, “Well, that’s going to be a very long answer.” — Read the story A Chronicle of Persistance over at Bicycling.


The Tour de France is winding through France’s flat farmlands, as it does every year around this time. Want some reasons it’s cool? I contributed to a list thingy for Bicycling.

I also wrote a story about sprinter Mark Cavendish, which was pretty ruthlessly overtaken by events. Thanks to some quick work with my editor, we managed to salvage it, but it was a close run thing. Honestly, I just needed the guy to finish a safe fourth. I feel like that should not have been too much to ask. But it’s the Tour, so you know, you rarely get what you ask for.

Read more

bike stories


This week I have two stories for you about bike racing. This is how freelancing works, by the way, everything publishes at once. Oh hey!

First, I have a story about the Axeon development team and how they try to balance their cocompeting ambitions. They’re an entertaining crew over there — all under 23 and bursting with talent and trying to make the world tour. There are obviously only so many slots to fill on the big teams, so it’s interesting to what Axeon race and try to make sure each rider gets a shot. In any case, here’s a story on the team and specifically, the climber-stage racers Neilson Powless and Adrien Costa. A fun thing is how many times I mispelled Neilson while writing this story. Yay! Axeon Hagens Berman Balancing Act.

Then I went over to visit Rally Cycling at their training camp in Oxnard. It always totally makes me laugh to go to Oxnard — and Silver Strand, at that — to talk to bike racers. It was windy and unruly so there was no good surf to gawk along the way. At Rally I caught up with the junior world time trial champion Brandon McNulty about his career and decision to sign with Rally — rather than maybe go to a development-specific team or head directly to Europe. Fun bonus! I got to call up legend Roy Knickman and get his perspective on McNulty, too. Brandon McNulty Profile.

Coffee Drinkers’ Guide to the Amgen Tour of California, Vol. 2


Welcome to the Coffee Drinker’s Guide to the Amgen Tour of California.

This is the second annual Guide, which is to say, we’ve reached the terrible twos, screaming and teething and drooling all over the joint. If this is your first time, don’t worry. Everything will be just fine. Also, you can find last year’s edition at Paved, may it live forever in our espresso-blackened hearts.

So you’re going to the Amgen Tour of California and you like coffee. You are totally in the right place. We’re going to tell you where to get your fix at every stop on the race. That’s it. It’s all so terribly simple.

This year’s race begins in Sacramento on Sunday, 5 May and finishes in Thousand Oaks on Sunday, 18 May. That’s a whole lot of coffee right there.

Stage 1: Sacramento

“Love what you do. Life is short, so celebrate it!” The people at Old Soul sound like our kind of people. They roast coffee and make bread in a wherehouse in Sacramento. We could not confirm the existence of a La Marzocco, the sure sign of good coffee. But there is a photo of their roaster, which is a very good start. The building has bricks. This is also promising. Life is risk, but we’re feeling pretty good about this one. Go to Old Soul, drink all their coffee.

Read more