In Cagliari there is a tremendous sun in the area for the team’s buses. is the first stage of the Giro d’Italia donnand are preparing for the start of this year’s edition. The girls come and go, testing the route as the mechanics fine-tune the latest improvements as the time for the big debut approaches.. A small man of indefinable age wanders among the coachesclosed behind the barriers of anti-covid protocols, he is covered by a mask that hides his entire face and has a stack of sheets near him. As soon as he sees an athlete approaching discreetly and keeping a safe distance he hands her one of those mysterious roles. The man is detached and seems to have a lot of will, after the girls he gives a large number to those he understands they are. the press officers, their wish is for each participant to receive it. He also says it well to all the Bepink staff to whom he approaches gracefully.
As soon as he sees us with a pass to the neck Sr. Maurizio Pau, this is his name, he passes us the precious sheet that advises us to keep it, as soon as he speaks to us he literally opens up a world that goes beyond a simple passion. Originally from Cagliari and proud of his Sardinia, as a child he became passionate about cycling, first read it in the newspapers, then came television, always following the greats of the pedal and dreaming of watching them live. “When the Giro came back to Sardinia after so many years it didn’t seem real to me, I immediately ran to see it, but I only saw them from afar, but it was there.”. Maurizio tells us with his heart making it clear his is not an applause like the others, it is rather a gesture of love which he feels he can do with athletes regardless of nationality. His is an Italian with a strong Sardinian cadence, does not speak other languages but means with gestures and even assisted with a giant sign conveys his message.
“Women on bicycles should have more space,” he tells us in his stomach, convinced that somehow we have the power to change something. “We always talk about men’s cycling, now everyone talks about the Tour, but there is nothing about girls,” he continues. The newspapers don’t talk about bicycles, there is football and that’s it, sports people don’t do it anymore, but what happens? Why can’t things change? Why is no one talking about these girls in the news?
The questions of Mr. Maurizio takes us in stride because he was right. Like him, many wonder why we don’t talk enough about women’s cycling, we do, others prefer to address different topics. But this year PMG set up a well-structured organizational machine, last year we were the only journalists, this year we are about ten, something has to change absolutely. Mr. Maurizio wanted to come and say it in person, not only to us, but especially to athletes to show that although not everyone talks about it, there is someone willing to encourage them all. Athletes follow one another and as soon as he sees someone near his area he stretches an arm over the barrier and delivers his message.
We find Mr. Maurizio at the end of the stagebehind the barriers, right in front of the podium applauds the winner of the day. He has been cheering all day on any athlete who passes, he said well to everyone, no one excludes because as he says “Cycling is a tough but beautiful sport, where everyone is a hero.” He only leaves when the barrier workers begin to dismantle everything, only then does his one-day dream come to an end. He greets us from afar as he returns home, not far from there, he just takes off his mask just to give us a nice smile. Only then do we have a moment to take his paper and read what he wrote: they are words of good wishes to staff, masseurs, mechanics and athletes, without exception to those who have wanted to wish luck in a totally original way. He calls them cycling heroes and dedicates to them his letter full of emotion, the letter of an amateur among many, but which for an afternoon reminded us why we follow this extraordinary sport with passion.