Archive for September, 2013

September 27, 2013

Tuscany Bicycling Championships Today

cyclingToday the UCI Road World Championship is heating up! The Junior Women’s road race opened the circuit to fans, who could finally appreciate the technical difficulties of the it. The circuit had been described as tough, and it proved to be so: the winner of Toscana2013 will have to be a strong, resistant cyclist.

Tomorrow, there will be two more road races: Junior Men’s in the morning and Elite Women’s in the afternoon.

The first Junior Championships was held in 1975 in Switzerland. The winner, Roberto Visentini became a strong professional rider afterwards. Ever since, many successful cyclists won their first races in this category: from Greg Lemond, Pavel Tonkov, to Marco Serpellini, Damiano Cunego, Roman Kreusiger, Ivan Rovny, but also Diego Ulissi and Giuseppe Palumbo, the only riders to win two consecutive medals in the category.
The race starts at 8:30 in Montecatini Terme and finishes in Florence – Mandela Forum, after 5 laps of the circuit. The total distance is 140,5km.
At 14:15, the Elite Women will race on the same course. The first Elite Women’s race, won by Elsy Jacobs, took place in Reims (1958). The most important rider so far in this category is Jeannie Longo, who won a total of 14 medals between World Championships (on road and on track) and Olympic medals.

Talking with some Florentine friends today …Florence is bursting with enthusiasm for the cycling competition going on right in the heart of the city ! A delightful experience for locals and visitors!

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September 26, 2013

World Cycling Competition now in Tuscany

UCI2UCIThe UCI Road World Championships are taking place in Tuscany between the 22nd and the 29th of September. It is certainly a great occasion to show off Bella Toscana to the world. Races are being held in Lucca, Pistoia, Montecatini Terme, Fiesole and Florence. All schools in Florence and Fiesole will be closed on September 27 and 28 due to road closures for the race.

Elite Men to race for the World title.. individual time trials are one of the most anticipated events of the year. The ITT is one of the most exciting competitions of the World because of the quality of the athletes taking part in it and their technical equipment.

Locals and visitors alike will have the opportunity to see some fabulous cycling in Florence the remainder of this week, whether you intended to or not.

September 25, 2013

America’s Cup 2013

The American team on the Oracle wins the Cup today, over New Zealand! The 34th America’s Cup was a series of boat races held on San Francisco Bay between the defender Oracle Team USA representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club, and the challenger Emirates Team New Zealand representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Oracle Team USA defended the America’s Cup by a score of 9 to 8. Oracle had to win the last eight races to come from behind to once again lift the oldest trophy in international sport. Team New Zealand won the right to challenge for the Cup by winning the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup. The 34th America’s Cup was the longest ever Cup by both number of days and races, and the first to feature a “winner takes all” final race since the 25th America’s Cup.

I saw two of the races won by Oracle Team this past weekend, as they made their way from behind. The speed of these extremely sophisticated boats was remarkable to witness. And the backdrop of Alcatraz Island added an interesting dimension to the race course. Congratulations to Oracle Team USA !

September 10, 2013

Celebration at St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral to bring Pope Francis

assisiThe feast of St Francis of Assisi is the most important festival of the Franciscan calendar in Assisi, Italy. It commemorates the saint’s transition from this life to the afterlife, according to the Catholic Church. For two days, starting on October 3, the town of Assisi is illuminated by oil lamps burning consecrated oil brought from a different Italian town each year. Solemn religious services are held in the Basilica of St Francis and in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. For many educators, caregivers and animal rights organizations, this day is an opportunity to teach children about endangered or abused animals and what can be done to help save these animals. This feast coincides with World Animal Day.

The election in March of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church made history several times over. His nomination also broke with the 2,000 year history of the church as the first Jesuit and the first Argentinian (though he’s the son of Italian immigrants) to be chosen by his fellow cardinals. Bergoglio is also the first non-European Pope in over a millennium. Perhaps the most telling among the firsts surrounding this popular and modest new Pope, however, is the name he has chosen for himself: Francis or Francesco in homage to Saint Francis of Assisi.

Who was the man who has so inspired the new Pope? Born Francesco Bernardone in 1182 to a wealthy textile merchant in Assisi, Francis abandoned his life of luxury and war-mongering as a young man and dedicated himself to spiritual pursuits until his death in 1226.

Though many travellers to Assisi limit their visit to a quick stop at the town’s imposing Basilica of Saint Francis, there is much more to this historic town than its most recognizeable monument. Be sure to find the quiet, flower-filled back alleys, hidden trattorias and secret spots scattered thoughout this beautiful hilltown. Maybe you would like to join Pope Francis in Assisi on October 4th this year!

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