Some people will do anything to get in the papers, even if it means depriving themselves of nutrition during a 2,300 mile tour. The Linda McCartney foods team began their veggie quest for glory in the Giro D’Italia yesterday, under the steam of tofu
burgers and quorn sausages from the label of the Beatle’s late wife.
Managed by hard-man Sean Yates, winner of several stages in the Tour de France and Tour of Spain, the team is British in name, staff and manager, but the riders are a mix of plucky veggie internationals. Two Brits (including Atlanta bronze medallist, Max Sciandri), an Irishman, two Aussies one Swiss, a Norwegian, a Dane and an Italian make up the crew, Sciandri and Swiss Olympic champion Pascal Richard providing the bulk of experience.
The team must have some concerns however, as any non-meat-eater who has travelled on the continent will testify. French chefs are renowned for gallic shrugs when confronted by the request for the “l’option veggie”, and all they’ll probably be able to find in Italy will be course after course of veggie lasagne and gnocchi with spinach. There is some hope, however, as when they competed a race in Bergamo recently the local vegan society cooked for them for a week. Maybe the Roving Frutarian Society of Tuscany will be able to help during the Giro.
Still, the Giro is serious racing, and Yates will be more concerned with output than input. “We’ve had a lot of write ups because of the name, but you can’t go on for ever on novelty value. We have to justify our selection ahead of a couple of good Italian teams. We’ve taken places from them because of the McCartney name and because we have Pascal and Max”.
Andiamo, gli zucchini inglese.