The 53rd Trofeo Buffoni (literally the “Buffoon’s Trophy”) was run in northern Tuscany on 11th September. This is a UCI 1.1 race for four man teams. Our four buffoons were Dylan Hicks, Euan Woodliffe, Huw Buck-Jones and our guest from Fensham, Jacob Bush. The race is one of the big Italian races of the year with a field of 42 teams, including four national teams, a couple of French teams, Backstedt and Zappi from the UK and a strong Italian field.
We flew to Pisa on Friday and were based in Forte der Marmi for the weekend, close to the race start. The parcours consisted of four loops of a flat 16km circuit and then six loops of a hilly 11.75km circuit in the foothills above the sea, 135km in total.
Race day was warm and sunny and our buffoons were up for it. The flat loops went as predicted - fast paced with attacks off the front but nothing getting more than 30 seconds. Both Dylan and Jacob came down in the melee but to no lasting damage. Jacob picked up some sprint points without really meaning to. The real race started on the hilly loop with a sharp right hander leading into the climb and an epic fight to get to the front at that point. The climb itself was packed with spectators and wound up through the woods at a steady 5-6% - great atmosphere and lots of noise and the odd welcome hose shower.
Jacob attacked on lap two of the hilly loop. Too early thought those in the team car. But he stayed at the front as the loops ticked by, first in a small group of 8 and then solo, getting 20 seconds at one point but never a decisive gap.With a lap to go a strong Italian rider bridged to Jacob and then counter attacked. The Italian (who is now on his way to World Champs in Australia) eased out to win by 20 seconds with Jacob hanging on for second place, 30 odd seconds ahead of the next group. An outstanding ride and result.
With the race scattered across the hill, our next best was Huw in 29th, about 6 minutes down. Dylan and Euan both suffered at the hands of the ruthless Italian rider culling, having ridden bravely for 120km.
The awards ceremony was outstanding - Jacob picking up four jerseys for KOM, points, best foreign rider and (we assume) best young rider. Our collective Italian language skills failed us at this point.
As ever, many thanks to the Rayner Foundation for their generous support. We couldn’t do these trips without it.