So it was that I found myself, my better half and our little darlings catching the morning ferry across the lake to visit Varese, the host city of this year’s Worlds in Italy, home to the Miss Mondiali contest – and luckily for me one of the best places to buy shoes outside of Milan.
Miss Mondiali 2008, the votes have been counted and the winner is… Gloria & Veronica.
Miss Mondiali is the honour given to the ladies that present the Rainbow jerseys whenever the Worlds come to Italy at whatever discipline – kind of a fore-bearer to Daily Distractions, the selection process is steeped in “cosa nostra” like secrecy and involves lots of short, ageing Italian men, and very tall leggy Italian women.
How the final two are chosen really is a mystery, but the organizing committee of the 2008 Worlds felt it necessary to send the press invites and let everyone have a preview of the winners. Held at the ‘ippodromo’ – ( horse racing track) venue for the finish of the road races in the autumn, the presentation was an Italian masterclass in getting excited about… infact, very little. (Something the Italians are world leaders in…)
Big Deal you’ve won the Worlds and you’re the current Italian Champ… my dad’s promised me gelato!
A large crowd of locals was gathered at the entrance, word started circulating that Paolo Bettini was going to show, the excitement grew, a Quick Step car flew by, parked and out jumped – not Paolo BUT Tom – !
The ever patriotic crowd groaned – but Tom can play to an audience and soon had them smiling with a few autographs and bidons – World class shines through. Although only days before San Remo, Bettini was apparently ill, so Tom and Italian champ Giovani Visconti had been dispatched – not a bad back up though.
Next we got to meet Gloria and Veronica the lucky beauties who will be fortunate enough to snog lots of sweaty blokes in lycra come September. Typically the girls didn’t get to say a lot, but there were lots of congrats and back slapping amongst all the committee members and one of the guys even showed us some of his sketches, which was nice.
Veronica would you like to see my etchings?
….And that was pretty much it – Tom and the boys got a police escort around the RR circuit, not a bad way to do your recon lap. I asked Veronica if she had a favourite cyclist – she giggled and said David Beckham … and we all went home. Well not me actually, I went to Herno’s and bought a Handbag – maybe that’s what I should have discussed with the ladies, I wonder if I’ll get the chance again.
See you in September, some of Varese’s top brass (and luckiest dawgs) are dwarfed by Gloria (l) and Veronica (r).
Paolo Bettini looking mean and moody just before the start of Milan San
Remo – perhaps he’s not happy teammate Tom got the Miss Mondiali gig.
….he had NO COMMENT for us.
Actually, I didn’t use up all my Brownie points as a couple of days later I was in Milan at the start of MSR to enjoy even more Italians getting hot under the collar and soaking up the atmosphere of the beautiful race – as they say.
At the MSR start I managed to get a few reactions to the result that all of the top riders were talking about…
Oscar who do you fancy for the worlds …”Si, I agree Veronica has the legs but Gloria is probably stronger on the climb up to the podium.”
A sunny spring morning, what could be better than soaking up the atmosphere of a classic bike race and discussing the finer points of Miss Mondiali?
Thor, anything to say about the big competition of the week “it will be a very close finish, but for me Gloria just edges it.”
David, is it true Italian chicks are so hot they have to smear cream on their legs “you better ask Veronica.”
• To experience the Worlds first hand this year and all the Italian passion that goes with it visit: www.GrupettoItalia.com