Here you will find news on members both past and present. Our latest feature is on former member Matt Woods, who now lives and rides in Italy! Jayne & Duncan have kindly sent this report from their trip over to Italy to pay Matt a visit, and no doubt do some cooking and washing for him...
UPDATE! Check out Matt's progress on the Baby Giro at http://girobio.com/ (the site is in Italian but a browser such as Google Chrome will translate it)
Easter 2012 – Our trip to Italy
Duncan and I visited our son, Matthew, in Italy over the Easter holiday period. Matthew lives in a small hilltop village in the Marche (pronounced markay) region of Italy. This is a central coastal region on the opposite side of Italy to Rome. The name of his village is Monsampolo del Tronto.
(Click the pictures for higher quality\to enlarge)
A typical street in Monsampolo del Tronto, where Matt lives.
This time during our visit we were able to see him race for his team Monturano in two fairly local races although elite and under 23 teams from all over Italy had converged for the two races.
The set –up in Italy is very different to here. If you are good enough after juniors you transfer to an under 23 team known as a delatante team. These teams race each other sometimes alongside elite (over 23) and professional cyclists from Acqua Sapone, Farnese Vini, Lampre and Liquigas.
The set-up for each race mirrors that of a professional. Each team is required to arrive at the race location about 3 hours before the start of the race essentially for team tactics and promotional work. Sponsorship plays a key part and so restaurants are always on hand to provide the traditional pre-race meal of plain pasta, cheese and ham. Around the table tactics are discussed before each team is photographed signing on and has a team photo by the official event photographer. There are various inflated arches, cavalcades of Caribineri and Polizia Nacional as well as old battered yellow cars to signify the beginning and end of the peloton and the ubiquitous large, red-faced chief commissaire popping his head out of the sunroof and gesticulating Christian Prudhomme style. One of Matthew’s races even had a helicopter to film the start and finish for the regular Thursday TV programme dedicated to the under 23 teams.
The Easter Monday pace was frighteningly fast from the start. Bearing in mind Matthew had left on Easter Sunday at 6.30am to travel north to the Rimini area
for a race of 150km (a race we didn’t get to see) he did well to stay with the bunch for the first three laps of 30 plus kilometres. Following team orders he controlled the peloton when the breakaway contained two of his team. The last two laps covered a 6km hill and with no team-mates left in the race Matthew was left to his own devices but it was too late to catch the the front group. He finished in the peloton.
Tuesday saw us at another race about an hours drive north of Monsampolo. This was the 37th Classica di Colbucarro, the winner of which apparently stands a good chance of a pro contract. The field was 200 plus with a large contingent of elite riders (those over 23) and older delatne riders. The course consisted of four big laps followed by two small laps each with the same 6k hill in which was where all the supporters stood. Riders were dropping out on the very first lap and again the overall percentage of those who did not
finish was very high with approximately ¾ of the field packing. Matthew did well to be one of the four finishers in his team.
Below is Duncan & Jayne's first article for our website on Matt's exploits:
The above photo is of Matt winning stage 4 of the Giro del Piceno. Unfortunately he had crashed on stage 1 and broke his bike, which was fixed in time for stage 3 so a GC finish was out.
Matt has been riding road races and gran fondos, which are mass participation events but very much a race at the front. As well as one win he has had some 2nd and 3rd places and got 4th in a crit recently.
He thinks he is also Abruzzo regional U23 champion but sometimes it can be difficult to work out the results!
All events are on closed roads and have from 80 to several hundred riders. Earlier in the year he had a three day trial with an elite under 23 team who have offered him a place on their team for next season. There are only 9 or 10 riders on the team and they compete all over Italy and further afield, mostly at U23 races, but they include several 5/6 day giros and the two week Girobio, which is the U23 version of the Giro d'Italia.
Matt's typical week
Training is usually 2hrs on Monday with his 70 yr old landlord, 150km on Tuesdays and Wednesdays usually with next year's team and including hill efforts and motor pacing, Thursday is hilly 200km with a group, Friday is rest and weekends are for racing, so Matt covers around 650 to 750 km per week depending on the races.
This year has really been about adjusting to the heat and the harder racing, and obtaining a place on a good team for next year, but the whole lifestyle has been really enjoyed. When not training most time is spent on the nearby beach!
Good luck with the next season, Matt!!!