Thursday, October 3, 2013

Firenze: Mondiali di Ciclismo 2013

Fans waiting by the Duomo
Last week Firenze was inundated by bicyclists and their fans, as the
UCI Road World Championships Toscana 2013 took place in the city. It was a bit of a strain at times, as many streets were closed off during the week, causing traffic and bus routes to be re-routed. However, in my neck of the woods, life was a bit more pleasant, as the blocked streets also meant less traffic over the Ponte alle Grazie, the bridge that I walk across every day to reach the city center. And in the end, the races brought a lot of excitement and attention to the city.

I was in this group of fans awaiting the cyclists in the rain
 After the first few days, when the cyclists were doing time trials, I rarely saw the races, try as I might, until the very last day of the competition. But during the week, I recorded the event as shown by creative local merchants in their windows.

Pinocchio joins the festivities in a shopkeeper's window.
A typical city bike in Tuscany
Ferragamo's gold bike
Gucci's bike
Bike displayed above a bar.
22 Bikes climbing 20 meters up the wall of an apartment building.
A bike made of bread
A creative display from someone's terraza.
On the last day of the competition, unfortunately there was a heavy rainstorm during the most important race of all, the Men's Elite, and it was difficult for the competitors to maneuver on the turns. Wet cobblestones can be dangerous, and half of the contestants ended up withdrawing from the race. Here's a video I made during a downpour when the cyclists took the turn by Ponte alle Grazie, with the hills of San Niccolo in the background. (the last 40 seconds shows the support crews for all the cyclists, so you can skip over that.)

This last race was won by a Portuguese in first place and two Spaniards in second and third place. The only medal won by Italians was in the Women's Elite race, when  19-year-old Rossella Ratto won the bronze. Overall, the races were a huge success. The record numbers made these Worlds one of the events of the year, with 7813 accredited people from 113 countries participating.

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