Venice Square

The Giro del Giubileo (Jubilee Tour) was over. Oreste Conte ended it as he had started, winning the stage with his arms in the air. Rome crowned Hugo Koblet, the Swiss with a legendary look and kind manners. It was finally time to go home.
Thinner and sun tanned the racers wore normal clothing.
The mechanics loaded the bikes on the team cars and vans. A lot of comments were being made and people were already thinking about the next challenges. Who will choose the team manager Binda for the Tour de France? Coppi, suffering in the plaster cast worn in Trento, knows he would not race on the other side of the Alps. He could not see the end of the tunnel he had got in after the tumble of Forte Tombion. The return is delayed to the last races of the season, the “dead leaf” races. Due to discomfort, sometimes he wants to give up. The determination of a wounded but strong warrior keeps him afloat. Fiorenzo Magni finished sixth. The day before, there was another type of expectation. He was unhappy with the outcome. He hoped to do better. The operators from La Settimana Incom linger on the racers. They shoot the “rompete le righe (break the rows)” and the men from Wilier are filmed by the camera. Cottur, Bepi, Simeoni and Clerici wore enormous Mexican hats and would entertain with an amusing sketch that a few weeks later would be shown in every Italian cinema.
Time to say goodbye. Giordano sets an appointment for the next challenges, listens to recommendations, suggests training times and methods.

A reprimand here and there: no one escapes his judgement.
Fiorenzo approaches the driver: “Can you give half an hour?” and without waiting for an answer gets comfortable in the passenger seat. Bepi patiently sits behind the wheel.
“Where do you want me to take you?” “To Venice Square”.
The Fiat 1100, never tiring even after almost four thousand kilometres up and down Italy in the last three weeks, roars away. It is not easy getting through the maze of streets and monuments of the eternal city.
“It should be at the junction of via dei Fori Imperiali, in front to Altare della Patria” hazards the driver.
“I’ll guide you” reassures the man from Prato.
Fifteen minutes later the Wilier team car is parked in the square.
They get out and go beneath the palace.
“When he spoke from that window – explained the champion looking towards the black rectangle – all of Italy stopped and listened”.
He said nothing else. The minutes passed by.
“We have to go back to the hotel”: Bepi broke the silence.
The roar of the Fiat 1100 echoed through the eternal city, leaving silver puffs of smoke behind it.

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6th August 2013