The conquest of the eight thousand will never be a peak to take. On the undulating hairpin bends of the Chianti region, at the most, it is enough to cut through the early morning haze to arrive in Gaiole and find a sparkling sun that illuminates the day of 8000 heroes. Their conquest is called freedom, the joy of pedaling, humanity. "L'Eroica is the most beautiful cultural alternative to the modernist drift that distorts the sport," Giancarlo Brocci, the founding father of this event without equal, has crossed the finish line of the 23rd edition.
In the endless river that fills every street with bicycles and cyclists with their vintage equipment, the hues of chamois and blue can be seen everywhere. The Molteni Foundation has brought here a large group of cyclists who proudly display the original uniform of Eddy Merckx. They were joined spontaneously by many others from the States, South Africa, Belgium, or cold Scandinavia: that jersey is a distinctive sign to find each other; it helps to feel part of a common feeling.
It is a theme of feelings and values that the Molteni Foundation has brought to L'Eroica, to the point of winning its heart. Before getting on his bike, Mario Molteni explained to the international members of the Ciclo Club Eroica, and then at the conference open to the public and the press, how and why his family name - now no longer a trademark - has returned after forty years of silence to talk about solidarity and bring concrete aid. "In the years when my grandfather and then my father Ambrogio started that talented team, cycling brought us success and fortune. Today we must give something back to those who have not found the same luck in cycling or after their sporting careers have not had an easy life."
The Eroica was the right place to touch the heartstrings because in this event lies the essence of a large community that identifies in cycling, at the same time, a belief, and a lifestyle. The consensus that the Foundation has collected in this Tuscan weekend clearly shows that cycling has changed but not the values that inspire it. "A few days ago,” explained Mario Molteni, “we received the news of the dramatic death of Frans Van Looy, who was our rider and Merckx's helper. At 69 years old, he couldn't resist the humiliation of seeing his house seized, and he took his own life. So, as far as possible, we would like to arrive in time to avoid similar dramas in the future".The Molteni Foundation, founded in March of this year, will complete the first cycle of its journey by December. Next month, the first two ex-athletes who will receive financial support will be announced: the ambition is always to help those in need. The Molteni family is working hard, but those who believe in this project and a more human sport can do their part with a donation.