Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia, Miami-Coral Gables

A wild passion for pink is now beating in the hearts of many American cyclists, who partook in the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia during the weekend in Miami and Coral Gables. On Saturday, November 10th, several stands at the Expo welcomed bike enthusiasts from all over the country with a showcase of the latest products. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, a strong advocate of cycling, paid a visit to the various exhibitors. He stated how important it is to promote this sport, not only excellent in supporting people’s health but also to preserve the environment, a subject very dear to bike-friendly Miami.

In the evening, at the breathtaking Biltmore Hotel of Coral Gables, the festivities continued with an elegant reception featuring outstanding guests: the campionissimo Mario Cipollini, the event’s testimonial; former professional cyclists Danilo Di Luca and Filippo Pozzato; and Formula 1 former driver Jarno Trulli, a bike enthusiast. Commissioner Ralph Cabrera, on behalf of the administration of Coral Gables, donated the Seal of the City to Super Mario and to Lorenzo De Salvo, who represented the RCS group. De Salvo grabbed the attention of the more than 100 VIPs with the 2013 plans for the Giro d’Italia signature Gran Fondo: Sea Otter Classic (April 20th), New York (May 5th), Pasadena (June 2th), and glamorous Beverly Hills in October, the last “stage” in California before a classic conclusion in Miami on November 10, 2013. “The format Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia represents a very important project to develop the knowledge and appreciation of the Giro d’Italia brand in the world, specifically in the United States. The events will convey the philosophy and the values of Giro to the world. We want to grow slowly and steadily,” said De Salvo. “This was our Year Zero: we are now ready to embrace 2013.” The iconic brand such as Giro was well presented with an emotional video, which captured in a few minutes unforgettable images – the best of the Giro d’Italia, from yesterday and today.

On Sunday, clouds of pink balloons bobbed near the starting line, celebrating the event’s start on Miracle Mile. About one thousand riders – lined up since dawn nearby Coral Gables City Hall – were ready to experience the wild excitement of the mass start. Pavarotti’s operatic buongiorno fade away to the rhythm of “We are the Champions,” while the countdown was led by the Consul General of Italy in Miami, Adolfo Barattolo. Next to the original trophy of the giro (“Senza fine”), beautiful Italian model Claudia Romani waved to the riders from the podium along with young Beatrice Fogliata. Opening the courses were three lovely FIAT 500s and a Ducati, part of the several Italian touches to the event. “It was so emotional to start next to so many champions,” said one of the participants. In key position, relaxed but ready to bite, were Cipollini in World Championship gear, Di Luca, Pozzato, Trulli, and American beautiful pro Liz Hatch. The riders concluded the different routes (25, 55 and 101 miles) at the Expo, where a delicious pasta party refilled their carbs and repaid their efforts.

The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia experience offered many extraordinary moments: the courses, the battle with the wind, the picture with the signorine and the original trophy…. All those emotions will find a special place in the memory of those participants, who arrived from all over the United States and, in a good number, also from Italy. The next exciting Gran Fondo event will be in California in the spring, for the inaugural Gran Fondo Sea Otter. For additional information please visit 

Photos: thanks Bruce Hildenbrand

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