Saturday, 12 January 2013


“Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.” (Jose Mourinho)
"There will be one leader, and that will be me because I have the experience and the results to back up that I can win the Tour." (Cadel Evans)

Cadel Evans' latest interview at BMC's presentation in Belgium was interesting mainly for two factors: his underlined cry for leadership at the Tour and the veiled accusation of wrongdoing by TeamSky, in particular Wiggins. 
The overall impression is that of a worried rider but one eager to show his best. 
Last year's lacklustre performance has been blamed on a virus contracted while visiting his adopted son in Ethiopia. His age also must be a worrying factor for him too as not many 36-year-olds have managed to win a Tour. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013


When Italy was unified about 150 years ago, it was a political not a cultural decision. It's not just a division between North and South that conflicts with the identity of this country, it's a deeper division.
Deeply catholic, over the centuries, people identified themselves with those in the proximity of the local church, with the bell tower well in view as a reference point, like an umbrella lifted by a tourist guide to keep the flock united. Campanile is bell tower in Italian, campanilismo is therefore the term coined to describe the allegiances people have to their local areas.
Although religion has played a big part in shaping cultural identities, the main catalyst for these divisions is the territory. The geography of the land has shaped the Italian way of life more than any invading power, political and religious force. It's a divisive land. To go from the west coast near Rome to the east coast of the Abruzzi region you have to cross mountains; the same happens if you need to transfer goods from the port in Genoa to the factories in Milan. There are alpine communities as well as maritime cultures, fertile plains, cold areas, hot areas... each with their own identity.