After setting off on Saturday 4 July from the Italian Embassy in Paris, the Tour, sponsored by Maserati’s French subsidiary and supervised by Guido Giovannelli - Regional Manager Maserati West Europe -, reached Modena yesterday afternoon, with cyclists crossing the finishing line at the firm’s headquarters building.
Apart from providing its 25 participants with a gruelling challenge, the Tour was organised with a specific charitable purpose: to raise funds for the Rêves association (www.reves.fr), which helps the dreams of seriously ill children to come true. On the principle of “a Euro for every kilometre the riders travel”, in 2014 the first edition of the Paris-Modena Tour raised 7,500 Euro for the French charity, while for the 2015 edition, which has just ended with more cyclists taking part, the amount collected has increased to an impressive 12,000 €.
The event brought together professional and amateur sportsmen including Frenchman Paul Belmondo, a former Formula 1 driver; two Spaniards: José Miguel Antunez, a former basketball player with Real Madrid and the Spanish national team, and Rafael De Medina y Abascal, Duke of Feria and a successful businessman; Gregory Galiffi, a famous French TV personality; and Matteo Panini, keen collector and owner of one of the biggest private collections of Maserati cars.
In a race of 5 day-long stages, with an average of 100 km cycled per day for a total of 480 km plus another 900 km in Maserati cars, the cyclists’ route led across the roads of Burgundy by way of Dijon and on to Vonnas, Georges Blanc and Menthon Saint-Bernard. They also tackled the highest Alpine road pass, the Col d l’Iseran, at 2,770 metres above sea level, before continuing through Italy with a stop in Milan and dinner at the historic Pirelli head office, then on to Parma and Modena, where they arrived yesterday afternoon.
In Modena Davide Cassani, former professional cyclist and current manager of the Italian National Cycling Team, joined the group and took part in the final stage through the Apennines above Modena, stopping at the Museo Panini, with the chance to view the marvellous private collection of Maserati cars as the guests of their owner and Tour participant Matteo Panini.
The finishing line was at the Maserati headquarters on viale Ciro Menotti, where the riders were welcomed by Giulio Pastore, General Manager Maserati Europe and Tiziana Zancan, Maserati Human Resources Manager. After the welcome ceremony, the cyclists enjoyed a tour of the plant, where the GranTurismo and GranCabrio sports cars are built.
Making the end of the Tour even more special was the presence of Giovanni Soldini, the famous Italian yachtsman who has been taking part in the toughest international races and setting new yachting records in Maserati VOR70 for several years now. Giovanni gave a warm greeting to the participants in this event in aid of a children’s charity and congratulated all of them for their efforts, especially in the searing heat of the last few days, in the noble cause of raising money to enable seriously ill children to see their dreams come true.
Throughout the Tour, the 25 cyclists taking part were escorted by a fleet of 7 Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte cars and other FCA group vehicles.