It's Saturday morning and we’re heading to the Giordana factory in Montecchio Maggiore, Vicenza. But first we need to stop off at the bike factory to meet the old grey man.
He’s sat at his desk going through emails, “get yourselves a coffee”. We go through to the workshop, Catherine gets the coffee but I’m more interested in the frames hanging up next to the paint booth.
“Did you see it?” he says, referring to Catherine’s half painted frame, “I test the colours........what do you think?”
Me: “I don’t like it!”
Catherine: “I think it’s nice. I like it”
Me: “She’s just being polite, she doesn’t really like it”
Dario (laughing): “I think it’s very ugly! It doesn’t matter, we start again”
The Ugly Duckling
We set off in the direction of Vicenza following Dario, trying to stay close. After a few kilometres he pulls off into the services. We follow.
“let’s get a coffee!"
I’m thinking ........ we’ve only just had coffee. What’s the real reason for stopping? I bet he needs some cigarettes?
We leave the autostrada and a couple of minutes later we’re parked outside the Giordana factory. Giorgio (Andretta - the owner and Dario’s best friend) comes out to greet us, Dario immediately starts winding him up!
We’ve met Giorgio several times before and ridden with him a couple of times, he was quite a useful racer in his youth and it’s still evident.
Giordana moved to these premises only a few years ago so everything is shiny and modern. Giorgio shows us around the shop floor, talking us through the processes and machinery. Rows of sewing machines, cutting machinery, sublimation, thermal bonding etc etc.
It’s Saturday morning so none of the workers are here but we notice clothing for Giordana’s sponsored teams still in process.........Mitchelton-Scott skinsuits, Astana jerseys as well as custom kit for cycling clubs and jerseys for Miguel Indurain’s Gran Fondo.
In the boardroom
After the factory tour it’s up to the boardroom where Giorgio goes through all the details of the various product lines before we decide what we want for Maglia Rosa.
As we’re talking Dario sneaks out, grinning through the window as he locks the door, then disappears off downstairs laughing as Giorgio shouts “stronzo!!!”