Eurocup Wales 2008 - 16.09. 2008

Fantastic weather (according to the Welshmen, the first and only two days of 2008 summer), fairy-tales like landscapes and a lovely welcome from the organizers.
First-day races in Singleton park, Swansea, on a very demanding track, with a long, hard hill, a fast descent, a short "wall" which makes almost everyone jump off the scooter and run and, above all, a "speed trap" on a string-like winding path - euphemistically dubbed as "technical part" - which only due to multiple interventions by the Holy Providence (even in favour of the many atheists attending the event) did not make any casualties. The already high level of difficulty has been increased by the presence on the track of wandering families and doggies more or less on lead, which have totally ignored the fact that a highly fought race was taking place a few inches away.

Debut with the relay race.
Viglio jr., restored back to life, declares an unbelievable recovery from his ankle troubles (wild hopping-dancing at the WC party) but is scornfully neglected by the managers of the Italian team, who prefer relying on the white-haired reliability of the old age pensioners De Amicis, Viglio sr. and Luzzana. The youngster therefore, eager for sensational revenge, throws himself in the arms of the newly-established mixed-team together with Lars and Karel Cvalin. Obviously the bubbling rage of young Viglio will eventually make the difference and deny the Italian team of the highest step of the virtual podium ... Third, the Dutch team, this time without any controversy by the Italian team (re WC). Worth to mention are a spectacular dive in the mud by a runaway Andre Visscher and an impressive performance by Roberto De Amicis. The latter's top condition to be confirmed in the 20 k: at the beginning Cvalin and Kessler dictate the pace, I mimic a pathetic attempt at resisting, then Roberto joins me and eventually leaves me behind.

On the finish line, the first three arrive with one minute gaps, after a further minute I am fourth with a truly dishonest sprint over Mike King, who made the mistake of pitifully collecting me with a spoon along the track while I was totally hopeless and of escorting me until the finish line. Elisa - at last focused on the race, due to the absence of Scandinavians - keeps at bay, with royal imperturbability, her opponents in the women's classification and gains the (virtual) gold. In the evening, a very well-attended rave party at the much desirable cottage of Pete, one of the organizers. The Italian team puts itself under the spotlight thanks to the elegance of their Avis track-suits, ideally suited to fight, in addition with earbands and wollen mittens, the rigours of the icy Welsh night.

Ben in Welsch national shirt...

Party house Pete

Strict compliance with the drink and drive ban denies me of a lift back to my Bed and Breakfast until the following morning, when Rob, the other organizer, and his son Dave (a.k.a "the joy-rider") deliver me to the lovely cares of the B&B houselady. The good madam, eager to justify the exaggerate price of an overnight "non-stay" at the B&B serves me with a Pantagruelian full-throttle English breakfast, with bacon, sausage, croquette, fried eggs, fried tomatoes, toast, marmelade, juice, tea. Thus the well-wishing woman totally frustrates the autogenous-training I had practised overnight aimed at becoming magically faster and puts at risk my almost unavoidable victory in the last leg of Eurocup, i.e. the same morning's 5k on the seaside promenade from Mumbles to Swansea.

Matteo fastening shoes

Andre in direction finishline

Air is electrict at the kick-off, the kickers in the leading group study each other while trying to be draught behind the escort-vehicle supplied by the organizers of the famous Admiral 10k race to be run later on. Karel Cvalin starts whipping the group of the leaders, tiny Van der Velde resist, myself and Viglio jr. do the needful to survive; on the only hill (a scarce two-meters) of the day Cvalin is once more in the run but then he renounces, realising he is being closely chased by the Italians; Visscher charges on and is unwisely neglected by the pretenders to the victory, who keep studying eachother's moves, a little out of steam to be honest. In the while Mr. Visscher - almost in disbelief, crosses the finish line as first, in front of eternal Lars Kessler and of a too generous Cvalin. Viglio jr. precedes me merciclessly.

Thijza on the Effendi

At this point asphyxia dims your witness' recollection of circumstances: there are rumours of Elisa being overtaken by Thijza with her new "club Billionaire" scooter, but no reliable evidence is available, nor it will ever be because it seems that the electronic timing - we had been supplied with a precious chip for that purpose - did not work properly.

The fact should not be surprising, given the fact that I do not remember anyone who at the start made us go thorugh any detector mat... in a triumph of good wishes, therefore, technology failed miserably and I suspect the last Euro cup race classification will be made up based on verbal records, with fictionary timing. Having considered this, I am no longer positive that Luca Viglio overtook me...(joke).

Matteo Luzzana


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