Vigorelli velodrome was closed back in 1988 and since then not a single bike rode his glorious track. There are no word to describe the immense lost cycling had with the ruin of this magnificent velodrome. Many great champions had been pedaling on his swedish pine track: Coppi, Anquetil, Maspes and more. Many records has been set and many others has been beaten. But not now, now the only guys enjoying this cathedral are the ones belonging to the two milanese american football teams. Could you imagine that? I have nothing against those guys but is a little bit weird if you think about it. It’s like having a bar in a church, but not a small one, a massive and important one. Next time I’ll be in Paris I’ll try to get a pint in Notre Dame and see what will happen.
Anyway, trying to raise again the problem to the community and municipality some milanese pistard organized an event for promoting a petition asking to open again the velodrome. It’s going to be difficult but however we need to do something.
Together with the petition it was also organized a track-stand, or surplace for the purist, in honour of Vanni Pettenella (wiki page in english is really poor of infos) the great 60’s champions whose one hour and a half track-stand record is still unbeaten. It was a great pleasure having Pettenella’s son among the participants.
The show of 20 guys trying this strange discipline was really pleasant even because the atmosphere was everything but competitive. the group quickly came down to 10 unit but after that things started to get slower.
Track-stand is a matter of concentration, balance, carelessness and strength. Many of the competitors were survivors of the previous day alleycat and after a while couldn’t manage to keep their legs in the correct position. After 15 minutes just three people were still standing on their bikes.
i started to get worried after a while because none of the three seemed to be disposed to give up, they were laughing and talking but standing perfectly still in the mean time. 25 minutes were gone and nothing was happening. So the public started to be pushy, in a very polite and funny way of course, cheering and offering some typical food to the participants.
I was playing with my niece when race suddenly finished, I’m such a bad journalist. The day after from the columns of all the major italian newspaper I knew that the two guys in the front had a small contact and couldn’t get back to the perfect balance falling in a second. The third one just stood for another instant and then stepped down when clock was scoring 28 minutes.
In the end the organization raised something like 500 signature and everyone left with a smile on their face. we know 500 signature are not so much, we know that the restoration need a lot of money, we know municipality will not care about us but still we want to fight in order to have this piece of history back and we won’t stop until our wheels will be sliding silent on that swedish pine track.
for more info visit the association website.