Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The Cool . pt 1

The Giro's now in full swing, with Di Luca taking hold of the race with today's stage following the Milan cyclotour rest day stage. I'm not going to give any race appraisal (yet), head over to the Service Course for a few well thought out words.

So let's look at the giro from a different angle, let's consider Sprezzatura.

Sprezzatura - defined by Castiglione in his book, 'the book of the courtier' as, “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.” 
Whilst this term was generated in Renaissance times and revolves around the life of a courtier, with time devoted to skill in arms, music, dancing, literature and athletic events, it still has huge relevance when considering the life of the roadman - the ability to make difficult things look easy.

Yet while most of the Pro peleton could be deemed by the average rider as making it look easy, the face pulling, teeth gnashing and bike rocking tell a different story especially when the man with the hammer is calling.

So who's got Sprezzatura?

I'll forward the first nomination as Il Cannibale - Eddy Merckx.
Ice cool exterior whilst the engine is whirring at full speed internally. No face pulling, teeth gritting or flapping, Steve McQueen probably learnt all he knew from Merckx. Relevance to the Giro? Winning 5 times needs no more explanation.

Are there others, Indurain? Coppi? Robert Millar? I could debate their inclusion but it's late and I need to retire.

So over to you - who's got it? Does anyone have it in the modern era?

Read some more about Sprezzatura here