The record-breaking Eroica 2022, 9,000 at the 25th edition and 4,000 are foreigners

The founder, Giancarlo Brocci: “the key to success are emotions, and even the great champions are rediscovering them with Strade Bianche”

It is difficult to say which is the boundary between sport, even if amateurish, and tourism, even if sporty: this year at L’Eroica 2022 – next October 1st and 2nd there will be the 25th edition counting the year of stop from Covid- there will be 9,000 at the start and almost half, 4,000, foreigners from every continent with the clear prevalence of Germans. It is the highest numerical participation in twenty-five editions. The now very classic amateur race has become, since ’97 in which a group of 92 madmen led by Giancarlo Brocci decided to take a jog of over 200 km (209 is the epic measure, then there are also lower routes) up and down along the white roads of the Tuscan hills, a phenomenon that is replicated from South Africa to California but whose heart remains in Gaiole in Chianti.

The nine thousand expected, Brocci minimizes, “really, are only those 92 multiplied by 100. In the sense – says the founder of the Eroica – that the deep soul has not changed, it has come a long way by remaining itself, involving by sharing values . More and more people have been attracted to this occasion in which the passion for a great sport is combined with the production of joy and friendship, attention to the territory, respect for others, sharing of emotions “. The attraction, according to him, is not only Chianti: “certainly there is its uniqueness, the encounter with a universe of respectable people who were thought to no longer exist, now placed on the margins of a world less and less attentive to good feelings and the right nostalgia. For sure cycling today is a worldwide practice and what wrote history up to half a century ago was only in Italy, France, Belgium and a little further on. Today Gaiole in Chianti offers an unmissable opportunity to I find within a magic that produces effects lasting a year “.

Pogacar could also arrive

An amateur enthusiasm – even if, we learn, there are timid signs of hope of seeing Tadej Pogacar at the 25th edition – which shows no signs of stopping, demonstrating that it is not a passing boutade to get on old racing bikes (built vehicles allowed). only until 1987): “I was also never sorry for the idea that this event became fashionable, that it was nice to tell the neighbors at the office, that it aroused pride to be able to say ‘I am there’. Certainly the most correct value it lies in the concept of the essence of sport, of having linked it to the beauty of fatigue and the taste for business, like that cycling that wrote the adventures of the early twentieth century up to the exploits of Homeric heroes like Bartali and Coppi “.

But between the type of bicycle, old-fashioned clothing and the context in which to ride the second one wins: “I choose the dirt road – says Brocc-. Obviously, nothing to take away from the charm of dated bicycles and woolen sweaters, a setting from a film of ‘ author, but having brought the road bike back off the asphalt represented by far the great added value. Just think of the success, also very worldwide, of L’Eroica Pro, today Strade Bianche; the two elements are missing above, dust or mud make by far the spectacle of a race that has already become on the road and among the champions the Sixth Monument “.

Who is L’Eroica aimed at today and what do you think of cycling in recent years? “I feel much closer to my and their passion some great interpreters of today’s cycling, guys who are increasingly trying to recover the bike as fun despite experiencing it at the highest levels and within mechanisms that tend to make them act like a script. I think of the Pogacar, Van der Poel, Alaphilippe, Van Aert, I feel them heroic in soul; beyond the class, I don’t think it is a coincidence that they are the last winners of my Eroica Pro, today Strade Bianche “.