The feat of Molise Cycling, the beauty of (re)living sport and nature | isNews

There is a sports club in the region set up in the midst of a pandemic but which has already reached 80 members and organized a major event: the Gran Fondo Atene del Sannio. Our interview with President Raffaele Fallone: ​​”We give everyone the opportunity to get back in the saddle and have fun walking along paths and roads, in the midst of scenarios of extraordinary beauty”.


Of Maurizio Cavaliere

Experience often plays a decisive role in the attractiveness of a sports club, unless you are able to build something structured, with a good project rooted in the territory and a close-knit team: in the latter case you can also establish itself immediately, climb the hierarchies, as is the case in road cycling teams. The metaphor on two wheels is not accidental, because here we are talking about the Molise cycling team, a growing reality in the panorama of Molise sports associations.

It is the project of a group of amateur cyclists who, in November 2020, that is to say in the middle of the second pandemic wave, are betting on something complicated to achieve, given the moment, but drawing inspiration of the need to escape, to get out of town and the mental limits that Covid has forced us to.

In a year and a half of activity, there have been many outings, races, reasons for sharing: all treated in the awareness of still having a long way to go. Small conquests then boom with about 80 members, a series of interesting collaborations and the organization of a first big event: the Gran Fondo Atene del Sannio (Agnone). A lot of substance, therefore, moreover in a discipline which has seen Molise struggling, certainly not because of the supporters, but for organizational and managerial reasons. Due to the constant decrease in the number of affiliated companies, a few years ago Molise lost its autonomous Federation Committee, becoming a delegation that was merged with the Abruzzo Committee. A blow for those who were able and wanted to revive the regional cycling movement. Nevertheless, someone is always moving in the right direction, as we seem to understand when coming into contact with the MCT, Molise Cycling Team.

We interviewed the president of the company at a time when road cycling is awakening, on the eve of exciting new sporting events, to get to know this beautiful reality perhaps born for fun, but obviously under a good star.

Raffaele Fallone, a lawyer from Campania, is used to going up and down the stairs of the Courts. Then he prefers to get on a mountain bike and go up other trails. Here it is, extricating itself excellently even among the curves of our curiosity.

Returning to racing after a complicated phase for sport, doubling up with road cycling: what are the company’s figures today?

“After two years of slowing down in competitive activity, there is certainly a desire to return to racing. Also because for many competition is the main motivating factor, which pushes them to go out on their bikes even on days rain or cold.Although we are amateurs and not professional athletes, we live the climate of competition, the fight, the expectation of personal results with great enthusiasm and tension.

“To date we have about 80 members – he continues – scattered throughout Molise, including cyclists and agonists, who mainly practice mountain biking but also the road. Our project is to bring together cycling enthusiasts, without distinction of discipline, age, gender. Give them the opportunity to experience cycling in the way they personally find most satisfying, whether it’s racing or touring. Among our projects there is also the organization of competitions (this year – in September – we will offer the second edition of the Gran Fondo Atene del Sannio in Agnone) as well as mountain bike excursions. We are planning, again this year, to organize an event entirely dedicated to families and children and in the future perhaps to open a mountain bike school for the youngest, with qualified instructors”.

Molise lost its Federation a few years ago, how much harm, if it hurts, the forced exile in Abruzzo, to our practitioners?

At the institutional level, we are witnessing phenomena of conglobation that are also common to other territories. It is a process that generally seems to be the consequence of an inevitable loss of relevance in our region, for demographic, economic and other reasons. But I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad process for us. Also in the field of cycling, this year we have a regional mountain bike championship that includes races that will take place both in Abruzzo and in Molise, which will bring an important participation of athletes from Abruzzo in the races organized in the Molise. I would consider this a positive result, also for the repercussions on the territory in terms of tourism”.

How is the weekly activity of an e-biker or a Molise Cycling road cyclist?

“During the week the different commitments that each of us has made it a bit more difficult to cycle together. Unlike the weekend we always make appointments for group rides around town and at least one times a month we organize excursions outside the city, to discover the beauties of our land”.

Where is the place, where do you meet?

“The current headquarters are in Campobasso via Piave 101, but above all we like to meet outdoors, when we meet for our bike rides”.

How did you prepare for the next race (Sunday) in Scerni?

“Without excessive pressure. For us, who are only amateurs, competitions must above all represent a moment of leisure. We ask our athletes to participate in order to have fun and feel good together, without worrying about the outcome at all costs. We clearly have very strong athletes in their respective categories who are often on the podium and of whom we are proud.”

Are there races planned in Molise in which you will participate?

“Yes, this year there are five Molise competitions on the calendar and it is clear that we will participate in all of them, both for a kind of territorial pride and to honor the other associations which, like us, make considerable efforts to organize the competitions and to always keep alive in the region any movement.In addition, together with the other associations, we have created the circuit “Molisn’t MTB Cup” which includes four of the five races of Molise, which in turn is part of Italy’s X Legend national circuit, which includes racing circuits from all regions. The top five in each category from each regional circuit will compete in the national final, which this year will be held in Lecce in October”.

Has cycling missed a beat since the end of the last millennium? But this also applies to football and other sports. How to attract young people to cycling?

“I would say that over the last two years, the number of people who have approached or rediscovered cycling has increased a lot. This is one of the consequences of the pandemic, which has favored individual sports, to the detriment of team sports, and outdoor activities. But also from the point of view of urban mobility, the bicycle has also become a necessary alternative – especially in large cities – to public transport. On the other hand, it suffices to look at the sales figures to see the growth of the cycle sector. As for young people, mountain biking is a very attractive sport. First of all, because modern mountain bikes today are very advanced and technically fascinating means. Secondly because, especially in mountain biking, there is a notable playful element which contributes to making it very fun, albeit tiring. I am happy to see that many young people approach cycling in general and mountain biking in particular; certainly the popularity of football is lacking and this, as with other minor sports, contributes to its slower spread”.

Institutions and sport: where to intervene?

“I’m talking about our sport. We have always considered the dialogue with the institutions to be fruitful. For example, since last year we have started a collaborative relationship with the municipality of Agnone which has led to the organization of our first mountain bike race, of which this year we will offer a second edition with collateral events also dedicated families and not just participating athletes. . This year we have also started discussions with the Municipality of Campobasso for the organization of a day dedicated to cycling, open to all and which includes various events. Molise is rich in areas that are still sparsely populated, full of sheep tracks, paths, woods, mountains that are the ideal places to practice mountain biking. We believe that this wealth can be exploited to develop cycling-related tourism, as has happened in other Italian regions. Sport, in general, can be a vector of economic benefits for our region, and this is why the involvement of institutions is necessary. It is also important that institutions are involved in initiatives to test first-hand the potential that they might not otherwise perceive. Institutional support for the promotion of sport among young people is just as essential. With the Municipality of Campobasso, for example, we have dealt with the question of the construction of works such as pumping tracks for bicycles, within the framework of suburban redevelopment projects”.

Raffaele Fallone stops here, young president of a team with healthy ambitions, who has the sensitivity to intercept a changing society, but in which physical activity remains an essential component, a breath of fresh air. A project that magically fits into the surrounding landscape of Molise, driven by the desire to explore its hidden recesses and live them freely.

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