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Number 1 will be missing from the roster at the Eroica bicycle race that will take place in Gaiole in Chianti on October 1.

That is the number that Luciano Berruti, “L’Eroico” par excellence, made famous. With his mustache and unabashed love for the bicycle, he dedicated a beautiful museum in his region, Liguria.

Luciano died on August 13, on a bright summer morning in which he went for a ride on his bike. Luciano had a total tie with Gaiole and the Chianti Classico territories through his “Eroica”.

“He (Luciano) came to Gaiole as if called by an invisible sound,” said the mayor of Gaiole, Michele Pescini. “We were tied by strong simlilarities. He was the number 1 “Eroe”. He died as he had always wished: on a bicycle. As founder of the Museo della bicicletta in Cosseria he made his love for two wheelers come alive, racing on the streets of the world”.

“Both the protagonist and ambassador of the Eroica of Gaiole”, explained Pescini, “he was a smiling and joyous icon. We gave him something that was already in everybody’s heart: honorary citizenship. We felt represented and Luciano brought the spirit of the race to the world: in California, South Africa and Holland. The initiative to finance a documentary film on his life was recently started. Now it will gain more force”.

The father of the Eroica, Giancarlo Brocci, is heartbroken. He was a fraternal friend of Berruti: “My brother, Luciano Berruti, has passed away. He loved me and I loved him. There will be a time not as sad as now to tell the story of a great man like him. There wasn’t a better person to represent the values of the Eroica. He will always be number one”.

There were many memories on social media as well of this very special 73 year old. Stefano Bigi writes: “Berruti came to a bicycle race with a vintage bike and they didn’t let him take off. Today if you show up at and historic race with a modern bicycle they don’t let you leave. He won”.

Ronald Gori continues: “Something will be missing this year, something that was a point of reference in years gone by. The man, the cyclist, and the person who best represented the spirit of the race. He was always available with a smile on his lips, his anecdotes and his simple photos. I personally will miss the greeting that we gave each other on Saturday or Sunday since 2008 (my second Eroica) during the Gaiole race”.

Personally, I was moved by Alessio Stefano Berti’s memory: “One day I asked him: were you ever a child, Luciano? He answered: Of course I was. I was very lively, always moving around. I lived in the countryside and was constantly outdoors in contact with nature. I liked to build everything. I was very creative and did well. Once I even made an airplane that sat on skis and I used it as a sled. I come from a humble family. We didn’t have games and always had to invent something. I liked very much to climb on trees and to draw. I was often punished in school because I couldn’t stand still. Luciano, you will always be with us thanks to your enthusiasm and love of life.”

Matteo Pucci

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