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Got this very nice looking photo (click to enlarge) in from Gruppo Bici N.A., a new Colorado based importer of all things bicycle and Italian, including a recent deal to import the Italian cycling magazines for U.S. distribution. Rather than paraphrase their lovely press release, here it is in full with a nice (if grammatically incorrect in parts) history and culture briefing:

PRESS RELEASE: Gruppo Bici N.A. announces today the introduction of a new, vintage-styled bicycle from Atala S.p.A.: Atala Primavera.

“The Atala Primavera marks two important dates on the bicycle calendar: the first day of Spring and the 100th anniversary of the Milan-San Remo, the official start of the Italian and European bicycle racing season” states company spokeswoman D’Abria Versace. “Primavera is spring in Italian, and what better way to celebrate this majestic, vintage-styled bicycle on this beautiful, historic day”.

“The Atala Primavera is an Italian bicycle celebration,” D’Abria Versace proclaims. “The bicycle is painted in a period blue, azzurro, which is also the name of Italy’s national teams, the Squadra Azzurra, More important, however, the Atala factory team won the 1909 edition of the Milano-San Remo with Luigi Ganno, so the bicycle has a steeped history which is seen clearly in her lines.” Atala also won the first edition of the Giro d’Italia the same year (1909), which is also celebrating its 100-year anniversary: Giro d’Italia Centoanni.

The lesson continues (with a photo of the women’s model, too!)…

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Atala Primavera
The Atala Primavera is a throwback bicycle created for design-savvy, fashion-aware Italians. Constructed of Oria Italian tubing mated to traditional lugs, Primavera by Atala is at home on full-of-life Italian city streets or in the gruppetto of a ciclosportivo rallye. The Atala Primavera’s resplendence comes to life through her 1950’s styling, use of top-line Italian components and with simple finishing touches including Brooks leather saddle and color-matched chainguard and wheel covers. Finished in period blue or beige, the Atala Primavera features cable guides and a derailleur hanger to accommodate the installation of gears. The Atala Primavera retails for $995 including shipping and is available in man or woman designs.

Milan-San Remo
The longest professional one-day race at 298km, the Milan-San Remo (MSR) is an annual bicycle race between Italian cities Milan and San Remo. Often called la Primavera, or the Spring Classic, the Milan-San Remo is considered the official start of the Italian and European professional bicycle racing calendars.

Part of the UCI ProTour calendar, the Milan-San Remo is one of the ‘Monuments’ of European cycling and the event is often called the sprinters’ classic while its sister Italian race the Giro di Lombardia, held in autumn, and known as the “race of the falling leaves”, is the climbers’ classic.

In the early years the main difficulty of MSR was the Passo del Turchino. In 1960 the Poggio, a few kilometres before the finish, was introduced. In 1982 the Cipressa, near Imperia was added. The other hills are the ‘capi’: the Capo Mele, Capo Berta and Capo Cervo. Despite the climbs the Milan-San Remo most often ends in a mass sprint.

The most successful rider of Milan-San Remo is Eddy Merckx; he won MSR seven times. In recent times, the most successful rider has been Erik Zabel, who won four times and lost 2004 to Óscar Freire only because he lifted his arms to celebrate too early. Of course, the Italian tifosi as most satisfied when a countryman has won Milan-San Remo; Italians have first-cross finishing lines in MSR 50% of the time.

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