We love spending the cycling season in Europe, enjoying the best riding, food and wine that Italy, Portugal and France has to offer, but there’s no place like home. Which is why we’re hitting the road this December – and we’re bringing Eros Poli with us.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him yet, Eros joined the team this year, bringing a ton of personality as well as Tour de France experience and an Olympic medal to the inGamba crew. He’s ridden with some of the most famous Italian riders of the modern era – most notably, he was Super Mario Cipollini’s lead out man – and was responsible for one of the most surprising and memorable Tour stage victories of the modern era.
He was never supposed to win. Especially not on the Tour de France’s most venerated mountain. Sure, he was prized as Mario Cipollini’s sprint lead-out man, but as a climber? Forget it. He weighed more without a bike than most of his competitors did with one, and towered above them all at 1.94 metres tall. He’d had a stellar amateur career, but turned pro late, aged 28. He was an excellent domestique, but not a doyen. No, Mont Ventoux wasn’t meant for him.
And yet, Eros Poli took it anyway. The Giant of Provence was conquered by a giant from Verona with a breakaway so audacious that his rivals ignored it. They thought it was the very definition of folly. It was, in fact, the definition of panache.
It was the kind of romantic win befitting a guy called Eros. Cipo, the greatest sprinter of his generation and Poli’s team leader, had crashed out of the Vuelta and missed the Tour. Mercatone Uno were without a leader for La Grande Boucle, and so the the workers were let off the chain. It was a rare opportunity to impress at the season’s biggest event, and one that Poli took by the scruff of the neck.
We’ll touch down in LA for three days from December 4th to the 6th, hooking up with the Helen’s Cycles crew that Saturday for a group ride and a dinner that should involve plenty of stories from the peloton and more than a little bit of wine. The next day we’ll be with LaGrange Velo Club on their popular Nichols Canyon Ride through the Hollywood Hills. On Monday December 7th, there’ll be a cheese and wine event at Velo Pasadena too, which is not to be missed, while early Tuesday morning we’ll hook up with our friends from Handlebar Coffee to ride in the Santa Barbara area. We will also be attending a special event with the folks from A Road Bike 4 U.
If you can’t make any of our LA events, though, don’t worry because we’ll be leaving Tinseltown behind and taking Eros with us to Bike Haüs in Phoenix and to Contender Bicycles in Salt Lake City. And for our buddies north of the border – our first customer was Canadian, after all – we’ll be touching down in Vancouver December 16th to ride with La Bicicletta Pro Shop before grabbing some relaxed afternoon beers. We’ve also got a few tricks up our sleeves and a couple of slots in our calendar that we haven’t confirmed yet, so if you’d like to find out more about our plans be sure to get in touch either at email@example.com or through the usual social channels. Even if it’s just to say hi, we like hearing from you. And for anyone in the Bay Area who is hoping to sit on the wheel of the big man for a few kilometers we have added a Saturday December 19 shop ride at Studio Velo in Mill Valley.
Eros has ridden the biggest races with the biggest stars, and now he’s coming to US of A to ride with you. This is the off-season so our main focus will be on fun. We’ve got some big rides planned and we’re looking forward to showing our Veronese friend that Italy isn’t the only country in the world with incredible roads and breathtaking scenery, but this is more about enjoying time on the bike and getting to spend time with a genuine cycling legend than setting any PBs. We’ve had an awesome year and we’re looking forward to spending some down time with a few of you stateside who have made it so memorable – we hope you’ll join us.