Giro del Trentino - TTT
 Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Back racing again, in Trentino for my second participation of Giro del Trentino.  A nice start for us, but the highlight of my week has been the presence of my young friend from Mazar Sharif in Afghanistan, Nur Halimi. I was lucky enough to meet Nur through a priest, Don Agostino Frasson, who looks after the 'Casa Don Guanella' in Lecco. One of five Don Guanella 'communities' in Italy that take in, care and educate young orphans mostly from outside of Italy. 
Nur, although only twenty years old, has a frightful but interesting story of how he came to be here in Italy. The eldest of six children, Nur's father - in fear of his children's lives - was forced to sell some of the families farmland to put his eldest son on the back of a truck, with all the family's money, in hope of arriving at a better place. For two and half months, the then 16 y.o Nur traveled by truck, bus, train but mostly by foot to arrive in Italy. With only the clothes he was wearing, a small bag, a little hope and I suspect a great deal of fear, Nur saw people fall down mountain sides to their death, walked for up to 12 hours a day in company of 'minders' to find himself sleeping alone in a forest in Italy. Without identification, police found Nur - and from here - Nur found his home at the Casa Don Guanella in Lecco. 

The Casa Don Guanella in Lecco also has an association with cycling -  hence how we met - and learning about Nur's interest in bicycle maintenance, the BMC Team invited here as guest in Giro del Trentino to gain some experience from the team mechanics, ride in the team car behind the TTT and stand on the podium with us. A frightful but interesting story that we can all learn from, with a happy ending... 

If anyone would like to know more about and support the Casa Don Guanella and Nur or one of his sixty-nine friends, information can be found in Italian here at:
Don Agostino is working to raise 250'000€ to renovate and convert the 'Cascina Don Guanella' from a beautiful 60 acre farm into an education, therapeutic and sustainable cycling themed Agriturismo, run by Nur and his friends. All going well, the Agriturismo in the hills above Valmadrera (Lecco) will be open within two years. You will probably find me there, either carting manure or being fattened up by the farms vegetables, wine, olive oil and Gianna's great home made biscuits. 

Oh, there was a bike race here today too, we won. Our local boy Daniel Oss is in the jersey...and I will have my work cut out for me...