Italy is nothing if not a richly varied country. And even within a single region the terrain can change greatly. Take the Veneto region in the northeast part of the country. Centered on the Renaissance jewel that is Venice, the region stretches from the Adriatic Sea across the northern plains toward the Shakespearian city of Verona and then upward into the Italian Alps. For a cyclist, several bikes are needed to properly tackle the Veneto’s rich and varied terrain. And after riding the Wilier Zero 6 on the mythical slopes of Monte Grappa, we decide to enjoy a spin in the lush valley below on the Cento10 Air, an excellent machine for flat and rolling terrain.
Built for versatility, the bike is the preferred choice of veteran professional Filippo Pozzato, because it’s built to handle the winds and cobbled climbs of the northern classics that inspire him. And it proves to be perfect for the tight sinuous roads found in this region below the Alps.
Starting out just south of Bassano del Grappa, we breeze past the area’s many olive groves and vineyards, where the Cento’s distinctive red finish catches the attention of more than one onlooker. But while the bike is known as a high-performance machine, it also keeps an eye on comfort.
“You are riding a pure racing machine, but comfort is the feeling you have when you are not pushing like a pro,” says Luca, a regional rider who’s only too happy to try out the Cento. “I’m not pushing the bike in a race-like situation, but taking in the beauty of this ride. Riding around in a place like this, I feel like I’m taking a cruise in a Ferrari!”
Of course, Luca, a former racer, can’t stop himself from punching it out of a few turns or sprinting up a short climb. And he loves digging deep on an extended flat section. “The bike is very precise on curves and switchbacks. And the direct-mount brakes give you the possibility to have fun on high-speed curves.”
One of the things Luca can’t stop talking about are the Alabarda aero bars. “They just really contribute to the overall comfort of the ride, even though they are performance inspired. I actually spoke with Pozzato after the Tour of Flanders this year and he said that, even on the cobbles, they were comfortable.”
On occasion, Luca stops to take in the scenery, getting a drink of water from a village fountain or relaxing on the steps of a local church. But the Cento10 Air is never far from his side. And why should it be? After all, the bike’s elegant design fits right in with the serene landscape of the Veneto.