Suitcases ready, bikes ready, clothing ready, all strictly vintage. Among the eight thousand lovers of cycling on Sunday at the start of L'Eroica in Gaiole in Chianti, there will also be a small group of 20 participants made unmistakable by a chamois and blue jersey blown by the light wind of legend. The Foundation of the same name came to light last March has been chosen as the symbol of its commitment to solidarity within the world of two wheels.
If L'Eroica is the transposition of the cycling pioneers into our days, the Molteni Foundation fits perfectly into an event that once a year manages to stop time: no one intends to live on memories, on the contrary. The message that the group of courageous men brings to the stony roads that line the hills of Chianti is precisely this: never stop, never give up.
Today, those jerseys chase different victories, which always have to do with cycling, but are destined for the less fortunate. "We presented the Foundation in Milan last March on the eve of the Sanremo,” says Mario Molteni, son of the patron Ambrogio who founded that team and took it to the top of the world. “There were Merckx and Gimondi; we never thought it would be the last time we would see them together. A sign of destiny: the past slips out of our hands, while the present calls us to bring help where we can".
Mario Molteni will also be pedaling on Sunday with his name printed on his chest. "It's a thrill that can't be described. Last October at the Six Days of London, we saw our colors blazing again on the track, after forty years. Now, in Tuscany, it will be even more exciting because we will find the atmospheres of those years again; we will live moments and images that will remain in our heads like a dream".
But before dreams, there is reality. "The Foundation has started, after some bureaucratic slowness, now it's fully operational and is about to cross its first goal - explains Mario Molteni - This is what we will tell at L'Eroica, during the evening gala on Friday, but also during the presentation on Saturday and finally in the race on Sunday: we are here too, we want to be here. We have created a board and a guarantee committee; in a few weeks, we will announce the first two former cyclists to bring practical help and, hopefully, a little better life. Our focus is clear: to rewrite the destiny of the less fortunate. In Gaiole, there will be the CT Davide Cassani at our side: both him as a technician and we as fans have still choked in our throats the scream of a world championship missed by a whisker. But this is a sport; everything can be overcome. In life instead, it is not always like this: that’s because we are here".