Saturday, April 7, 2007

A Chance Encounter with Pietro Guerra


It's been a somewhat difficult week. I have had a terrible cold for four days so decided to rest from cycling. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to just relax as I had to deal with some very challenging problems related to my "permesso di soggiorno" (permit to stay). This is THE document that permits you to remain in Italy so making sure everything is in order is at the top of the priority list.


With the temperature at 73F (23C), and feeling just good enough to get a ride in, I was looking forward to a nice spin.


The Gruppo 1 ride was small (it's Easter weekend and Italians take a long weekend as Monday is a holiday...."Pasquetta"). A few KMs from Verona we hooked up with another small ride and joined forces. We were riding along when one of my friends says, pointing to a rider, "Do you know who that is?". Well, it was Pietro Guerra from Verona. I knew the name as Pietro won a silver medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, was World Champion in the 100km team time trial in 1968, and won the Italian Pursuit Championships in 1970 and 1971. In stage racing Pietro won one stage in the Tour de France in 1971, and a stage of the 1968 Vuelta a Espana. The teams he rode with as a professional:

1974
Bianchi (ITA)
1973
Bianchi (ITA)
1972
Salvarani (ITA)
1971
Salvarani (ITA)
1970
Salvarani (ITA)
1969
Salvarani (ITA)
1968
Salvarani (ITA)
1967
Salamini (ITA)
1966
Salamini (ITA)


Also of interest is that Pietro won those Italian Pursuit Championships on a bike built by the almost mythical Mario Confente.


Pietro and I chatted quite a bit on the ride. Quite the entertaining morning. On the roads of Verona province you never know who you might meet.
Photo: Pietro Guerra in the early 1970s.



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