Davide Bais’s world is a world made up of simple things: things that a victory at the Giro d’Italia won’t dent, because they are now part of him: his little house in the mountains to be fixed up a little at a time, a walk on the trails of his Trentino region, an evening with his lifelong friends. Of course, what happened on Friday at the top of Campo Imperatore is no ordinary thing: such an unexpected and beautiful victory came like lightning over the life of a boy who dreamed big and hit his dream on a May afternoon.
“No,” he says, “I still haven’t fully realized what happened. But because a race like the Giro does not allow you to stop and celebrate, to take your head off: there is always tomorrow to think about, there is always a climb to climb and a stage to prepare for. Fortunato, who won on the Zoncolan two years ago, told me several times: you realize everything at the end of the Giro, once you get home.”
Something big happened, though, and you realized it….
It was the others who made me realize it: the teammates, the group. During Saturday’s stage a lot of people came to congratulate me, even very strong riders: and that was beautiful for me, I almost felt embarrassed. And then I got a crazy message….
From Philippe Gilbert, someone who has always been an absolute idol for me. He wrote to me, and I thought it was a joke and it was really him. He told me, “You were strong but also smart, and when you win with your leg but also with your brain the victory is more beautiful and important.” In short, a dream.
Speaking of dreams: at Campo Imperatore you realized one of them.
When my brother Mattia and I were pedaling on our little bikes as children, we dreamed of becoming professional riders. Participating in the Giro d’Italia was our favorite game, it was something so beautiful that it seemed even hard to imagine. Instead it happened, it happened to both Mattia and me. And I even won a stage now.
The first dedication was for your teammate Arturo Gravalos. A beautiful gesture.
He deserves it. Because my dream as a child was the same dream as his: we both wanted to be cyclists, to participate in the Giro. I fulfilled my dream, but instead life put a huge test in front of him and his dream changed. And we must always remember this, we must always welcome the good things that happen to us because things change quickly. Arturo, after hearing my dedication, wrote to thank me and told me that he celebrated by eating a piece of chocolate. And this gave me so much pleasure, but also so much thought.
With the team did you celebrate?
A very quick toast, a few words from Ivan, then everyone to bed. At the Giro you get to the hotel late, and every night is already tomorrow. We will celebrate at the end, with the teammates but also with my girlfriend, my family and my brother.
Your brother Mattia, now your teammate: how is your relationship?
Beautiful, solid: he is my big brother, we started cycling together and that bike was our favorite game and maybe a little bit still is. We love each other in our own way.
The day after your win, Mattia went on a breakaway and finished sixth. A beautiful story.
He deserved a result like that, at one point I even thought he could have won and that would have been really amazing. But it was great to see him in the breakaway, a team like ours needs these things: they give us morale, they give us the desire to try, they tell us that we can all dream and we can achieve anything.
How does it feel wearing the blue jersey?
Great. The team was super and gave me helmet, goggles and wheels in the color of the jersey, and I have a duty to honor this jersey: I don’t know how long I will wear it, but I know I will always respect it by defending it in every way.
Can EOLO KOMETA win again in this Giro?
For sure, we will try as we have done since the first day: Albanese and Fortunato are in great shape and they are the spikes, but I am the proof that riding like this we can all think of winning.
You and your brother Mattia are setting up a small house in the mountains near your home: can you tell us about it?
It’s a beautiful place, it’s called Santa Barbara and it’s on Monte Velo: we’re going to pass by it on the Monte Bondone stage. The house is almost ready, it’s coming along really well.
What is the mountain for you?
Freedom. A place that can make me feel peaceful, that makes me feel good. As soon as I can, with my little group of friends, I go for a hike in the beautiful places in my areas-I like to walk, I like to stop of the shelters to eat a typical dish or a slice of cake when I can. And I never go out without my big puppy: a German shepherd named Sky who always follows me, faithful and splendid. Here, ask me again when I will celebrate Friday’s victory.
When will you celebrate the victory?
A few days before I left for the Giro, I accompanied my dad up to the little house in the mountains: he had to bring tiles for the upstairs bathroom. I didn’t help him, of course: but I sat outside and was silent for half an hour. In that moment, in the midst of that silence and beauty, I realized the importance of the ride I was going to go on. And it will be when I go back there, to that place and that silence, that I will realize what happened.