HOW FAR YOU CAN GO – SOLO

The second chapter of our ocean journey with Ambrogio Beccaria, his ALLAGRANDE project and K-Way

Together with K-Way, we’re portraying the story and essence of ocean sailor Ambrogio Beccaria. ‘Solo’ is the second chapter of our journey into his aquatic universe and the second stage of the documentary ‘How Far You Can Go’: a narrative regatta that we will accompany with special editorial focuses.

“Solo ocean sailing, for me, is not an escape from society. It’s a way to discover the impossible, and do it without the help of others.” There is only consistency in the life of an ocean sailor. Consistency in following a given current that might provide both aid and unpredictable calamity. Consistency in following a flow, a nautical score born from one’s own mind and perceptions, moving away from the known to challenge the unknown and, at the same time, discover it.

While the chaotic Milanese bustle becomes an invisible line on the horizon, Ambrogio Beccaria indulges in his consistency and senses. Charting routes that have been sailed for centuries yet remain wild and untamed. The vision of this talented sailor is not about leaving behind society, urban relationships, or shared living. Instead, it’s about adding additional pieces to an evolving human mosaic. Not selfishness, then, but a taste for revelation. Not individualism but an inner and outer quest. Artistic, but also athletic.

“Solo sailing is a special art. I like being around people but prefer finding a personal balance with the boat. I love to get my hands dirty and keep discovering things. Solo racing is an extreme adventure. We’re talking about weeks, not hours of travel. The technical background and scientific study are mixed with the complexities of entire days spent alone on the open sea. All it takes is a day for the problems of sleep to take over, and that’s the most difficult variable to manage. The ocean has its own rhythm, and you can’t afford to sleep whenever you want. I usually break my daily routine offshore with 20-minute micro-sleeps. In races, you have to be strategically and mentally present, despite being tired. The days get really long, and clarity is quite different from when you’re ashore. It’s crucial to be able to understand yourself, and to listen deep down. And to know how far you can go. It’s hard, but the sea has helped me understand so much…. I have developed a sensitivity that I sometimes compare to that of marine animals. Waves and currents have become tools to interpret.”

Visual and sound instruments that, for the sailor-director of the ALLAGRANDE project, act as a code, a universal language. Nature communicates with those who can, want and know how to listen; constant dialogue, even miles from the last inhabited coastline. That is why the 31-year-old Beccaria’s path has nothing to do with voluntary confinement. That is why aquatic solitude, in his words, becomes a respectful synergy with another universe, with a dystopian system of signs, hierarchies and truths.

“When you return from an ocean voyage you realize you’re hypersensitive to all sounds and noises. At sea there are no other people, no city, no traffic, but the boat and its surroundings are constantly speaking. Complete silence is a utopia; I have no memory of it. In fact, the idea terrifies me because it’s something that can’t exist in the ocean. Total concentration is necessary during a race, and it’s essential to tune into the outside world. There is always a precarious balance; you need the right intuition to process the symbiosis between sea and boat. This kind of attunement has its positives, but also its negatives: it sucks up so much energy and can end up making you a bit monomaniacal. But my passion is so strong. And that rawness of the ocean never stops teaching. We sometimes tell lies on land… to others and ourselves. On the sea you can’t do that, otherwise you won’t last very long. When you spend so much time alone, you can’t lie to yourself: I associate solo sailing with one thing: sincerity.”

In sincerity, the most faithful bonds are built. They are pure and visceral connections, like the one between the sailor nicknamed ‘Extraterrestrial,’ a nickname inspired by his meteoric rise in the global sailing elite and the hyper-technological soul of his boat ALLAGRANDE. What for some is loneliness, for others can be a profound, unfiltered relationship based on the spirit of survival and an illogical but inevitably romantic type of affection.

“I have a very intimate relationship with the boat. When I talk about my regattas, I always see it in plural terms, because I’m not alone out there. We’re together. Everyone plays their part. Before a trip, I spend a lot of time thinking about my boat: all those little details, how sound it is, and, of course, its potential performance. The biggest anxiety lies in those hypothetical technical issues. During a race that lasts for weeks, it’s impossible for everything to go smoothly. On board ALLAGRANDE there are always injuries to patch up; normally, one headache a day is the norm and two get my worrying. By mentally recording sounds and noises, I can constantly monitor the conditions of the wind, sea, sail and the whole boat. When these change, I know the boat is telling me something, and I act accordingly, trying to accommodate its demands. If the boat slams down hard on a wave, it’s like a punch in the gut. I feel like I’m using it badly, and I feel guilty…”

Follow us to discover the third chapter of ‘How Far You Can Go.’


HOW FAR YOU CAN GO - HOME

HOME, The first chapter of our ocean journey with Ambrogio Beccaria, his ALLAGRANDE project and K-Way

Together with K-Way, we portrayed the essence and listened to the story of ocean sailor Ambrogio Beccaria. ‘Home’ is the first chapter of our journey into his aquatic universe, and the first stage of the documentary ‘How Far You Can Go’: a narrative regatta that we will accompany with special editorial focuses.

Home is where the heart is. It does not take much to strip of rhetoric one of the most famous phrases from pioneering writer, traveler and naturalist Pliny the Elder. Listen to the words of Ambrogio Beccaria, immerse yourself in an inverted biography that began between the asphalt borders of Milan’s Navigli and expanded outward into the cryptic yet welcoming horizons of the open ocean, its routes, and its many challenges.

For this ocean sailor, home is the hull of his nautical jewel ALLAGRANDE, and the incessant dance and sway of its sail. It is the feeling of inhabiting and, simultaneously, exploring the unknowns of the vast blue. It is the solitary, cyclical water-drenched migration applied to sports and competition. Both primordial necessity and modern vocation, it appeared by pure chance in the midst of adolescent chaos and ended up defining the future of the man who, today, is counted among the most talented sailors in the world.

“My passion for sailing was born by chance. I come from Milan and my family didn’t sail, but my parents passed on their passion for the sea. I remember endless vacations spent only on the beach…. Being from Genoa, my grandmother was the only one with true maritime origins. She used to tell me that when I was a child I would get into the water by walking backwards because I was afraid of the horizon. Sailing came when I was 11, thanks to a summer course my sister took in Sardinia. I imitated her, like I did so many other times, and the instructors really instilled a great passion in me. Sailing first became a way to escape Milan, to feel grown up among people more mature than me, then it allowed me to travel around Italy and earn my first paychecks. It was a kind of toy-land, a real form of independence. At 14-15 years old you ask yourself a lot of questions, especially in a city like Milan. Sailing gave me some answers.”

Where waves and clouds mirror each other and ultimately become one, the answers sought by this young sailor have been structured and clarified over time, becoming personal philosophical assumptions. If it is true that the wind, the noble master of aquatic immensity, erases all traces of human passage, its role as revelator is undeniable, its ability to inspire lashing epiphanies and fluid awarenesses. Those now inspire the exploits of a navigator capable of being both poet and scientist.

“Contact with the ocean is always in flux, I don’t have a fixed feeling about it. Lately, being in the middle of the sea changes my perceptions, my feelings, compared to when I am on land. In the water, the differences between human beings and nature, all those boundaries, those limits that are amplified by the contemporary world become thinner. I feel something wild that dwells within me. When this component comes out, it makes me feel good, it gives me a rhythm that is completely different. And it makes me feel at home. Being a sailor means doing a job that I know doesn’t make sense to society, but feeling like a sailor has given me a place in the world. Without this passion, I never would have discovered that the sea is where I really belong.”

This is a place, a dwelling with no specific address. But it refers to an ideal, the one encapsulated in ‘ALLAGRANDE’. ALLAGRANDE is a dialect joke that, over time, has taken on the connotations of gambling, taking risks, discovery, reality, even affirmation. It has become the meeting point in that process of communion between Beccaria and the sea currents, as well as the cornerstone of a dream mad reality by exceeding all expectations.   

“The name was born thanks to the shipworkers at the La Spezia shipyards. It was 2015, I was in my early 20s and was skippering a cruising catamaran. I was studying to become a navigator and bought a Mini 650, my first ocean-going boat that was 6.5 meters. It was a wreck salvaged in Portugal; I had no money to afford anything else. After work, I would spend hours at the shipyard refitting it. The carpenters, like all good Ligurians, kept teasing me. They kept asking me how my dream was going. I always answered, “Alla Grande!” (Great!) When it finally came time to launch, I decided that would be the perfect name.”

Follow us to discover the second chapter of ‘How Far You Can Go’.

Credits

A Project by AthletaLab

Director & Editor Giulia Fassina

Creative Director Rise Up Duo

Cinematographer Paolo Concari & Giulia Fassina

Colorist Jacopo Cosmelli

Soundtracks & Sound Design Tommy Zaph

Motion Design Mike Rodella

Type Design Filippo Giuliari

Additional Footage Lorenzo Sironi

Copywriter Gianmarco Pacione

Translator Scott Alan Stuart


The Celebration of Sport with the ASICS FrontRunners

Positivity, sharing and well-being, the Japanese brand's new collection as told by ASICS FrontRunners

Spread positivity and move the minds through movement.The new ASICS ‘Celebration of Sport’ collection is based on these concepts, elevating the essential role of running and physical activity in the mental and physical well-being of every individual. A multi-product line consisting of ten shoes, it encapsulates the heart and soul of the brand, radiating through a distinctive yellow color scheme and a series of technological enhancements developed in the laboratories of the Institute of Sport Sciences in Kobe.

ASICS FrontRunners Thierry Adjetey, Cecilia Sabbadini and Riccardo De Anna serve as narrators for this new aesthetic and communicative chapter for the brand. Their words highlight the futuristic features of the SUPERBLAST 2 PARIS, the iconic Gel-Nimbus 26 and Gel-Kayano 31, and the intrinsic philosophy within these products: the idea of celebrating sport through movement, whatever it may be, and transposing the founding phrase Anima Sana in Corpore Sano into a modern environment.

‘SoundMindSoundBody’ to ‘Move Your Mind with ASICS’. Running, for ASICS, continues to be much more than physical exertion for its own sake. It is synonymous with inspiration, liberation and sharing, as Thierry, Cecilia and Riccardo reveal. 

What does running mean to you? And how does representing a brand like ASICS make you feel?   It’s a brand that’s so rooted in history but also so attentive to progress and innovation.

Thierry Adjetey: “Running is more than just exercise; it’s an activity that lets people get in deep contact with themselves. Through running, I can discover new facets of my personality and overcome my limits, not only in sports but also in everyday life. It’s a time for introspection and personal growth, an opportunity to challenge and constantly improve myself. A brand like ASICS amplifies this experience, allowing me to live my daily passion to the fullest. Through the ASICS FrontRunner community, the brand gives me the opportunity to connect with people who are passionate about the sport and those who want to get into it for the first time. ASICS creates a bridge between my personal growth and the opportunity to share this passion with others, further enriching my running experience.”

Cecilia Sabbadini: “For me, running is freedom and lightness, a way to free my mind from the challenges of everyday life. Running has often taught me that I can make it on my own even when I think it’s impossible, but also that some goals are more easily achieved when you’re surrounded by the right people. But you have to commit, bang your head against that wall, sweat bullets to achieve every little goal. It applies in life just as much as running. Seeing that I can do it on one side lets me be the woman I am on the other. For me, it’s really an honor to be able to represent a brand like ASICS that is a standard-bearer for how movement can positively influence and change everyone’s attitude. I think all the feelings I have while running are perfectly embodied in the brand’s ‘SoundMindSoundBody’ philosophy. Whenever we move our bodies to the fullest, sweat and run, we’re happier. Within that feeling of happiness and lightness you find everything.”

Riccardo De Anna: “Running means taking a space for myself and clearing my mind of the day’s efforts. It allows me to feel good about my body, using that fatigue to feel great peace and satisfaction. Running is also a continuous challenge with myself; a way to set continuous goals by giving myself direction. Being within ASICS as a FrontRunner for me is a source of great honor and privilege. The very name of the brand conveys all the deeper meaning that sport has for me, a meaning that really comes out in ‘SoundMindSoundBody’. Moreover, to be able to spread such an important message through the meaningful campaigns it offers, that’s just great. Every day this brand makes me happy and proud to be part of this group.”

This campaign is accompanied by a claim with a strong meaning: ‘Move Your Mind with ASICS’, ‘Free Your Mind with ASICS’. What does it mean for you to free your mind through running? And what role do ASICS products play in this?

Thierry Adjetey: “‘Move your mind with ASICS’ for me is going beyond the usual patterns that associate running or physical activity exclusively with performance. It means fully experiencing the benefits that are both physical and mental. By freeing the mind from clichés and expectations, we can truly enjoy all the benefits that running gives us. ASICS, with its products that are perfect for all types of runners, ages and experience levels, offers everyone the opportunity to get into this sport. In this way, running becomes accessible to anyone, allowing them to discover and experience the benefits of a wonderful sport.”

Cecilia Sabbadini: “Freeing my mind means unloading that burden of everyday life. The moment I go out for a run, I can live fully in the now, concentrating and devoting myself completely to those moments I’m living. It’s amazing how my thoughts take a different form at the same time, coming out clearer and more rationalized. Running helps me put my thoughts in order. I believe that in order to move freely you have to have products that can cater to your needs, that can offer you maximum comfort, and that allow you to express your characteristics to the fullest.”

Riccardo De Anna: “There are days that are so busy and tiring that putting on a pair of shoes is my only solution to store order and lighten my mind. There are days when I am pensive, I have a thousand questions on my mind, and only in a run can I find the best answers. Like a session with a psychologist. But on other days, I go out for a run to not think at all. I can bring order to thoughts, lessen worries and find answers. Through the excellent comfort and lightness of ASICS products all this is easier and less tiring.”

In the collection, the theme of shared positivity is also powerful, as well as the collective serenity that running conveys in its various forms. As a runner, how important is the sharing of training, experiences and races with other people? And what reflections or feelings does this ‘social’ role of running bring to you?

Thierry Adjetey: “On social media, I try to share my vision of running and communicate the depth of the well-being it gives me. I tell about my running experiences, my workouts, my challenges, and my races, trying to reach out to all kinds of enthusiasts, as well as those who have never tried running. Running is for everyone, and every time I see someone try it out, I feel a great satisfaction.”

Cecilia Sabbadini: “The social component of running is so important. I think that sharing helps people see the benefits of movement and can inspire them, motivate them to take a step forward for their mental and physical well-being. I really hope that sharing workouts, experiences and races can be an additional incentive for those just starting out. And I think it is key to communicate what’s behind any successful goal to those who have the same passion as you. I try to do that on a daily basis. That’s really important to me. Even when you come out on top at the end, it doesn’t mean that path was easy. Sharing your experience will motivate other people to continue to persevere on their path to achieving their goals.”

Riccardo De Anna: “If life is nothing but a series of experiences and relationships, running has provided me with the absolute best of both. Sharing is essential because it allows you to split the fatigue in half by lessening the burden of training with a common goal, achieving it through mutual support. A race, event or training is like a journey, and it’s better when shared. For me, the human relationship in running is fundamental because it allows me to have new experiences, learn about different perspectives, and go in search of new realities. Running, like all sports, has great social and educational value for me. On the one hand, it is a powerful source of social inclusion and integration, and on the other it can educate people through unique and profound values such as equality, discipline and respect for different cultures. It’s capable of breaking down stereotypes, and uniting people. On a personal note, I believe that good sports is about being surrounded by beautiful people. And if we think about dialogue, sharing with each other and carrying out projects through a common passion, you can’t really achieve anything truly unique without the right people. With this in mind, I think running makes you better.”

Comfort, energy, calm. The new ASICS technologies set out to impact performance and real statistical data as much as the sensory perception and emotional sphere of each runner. What weight do the ‘intangible’ factors have on the ‘tangible’ outcome?

Thierry Adjetey: “I am convinced that emotional well-being has a direct impact on the results we achieve. Whether it’s a daily training session or an important competition, having a peaceful mind lets us express our potential to the fullest. When our mind is free from worry, our body can move with greater fluidity and effectiveness. ASICS understands this connection, and strives to put comfort at the center of its footwear, ensuring that every step is imbued with energy and support. I feel that the quality and innovation of ASICS shoes help me improve performance, but they also keep me calm and focused on the activity I’m doing. That way I can fully enjoy the experience.”

Cecilia Sabbadini: “In my opinion, they have a huge impact. I think new technologies have the power to positively influence the emotional part of an athlete, enhancing self-awareness, safety, and self-confidence. All of that implicitly impacts performance and statistical results.”

Riccardo De Anna: “I believe that the technology of a shoe can provide more confidence and composure in a runner’s performance. Several studies have now shown that comfort, energy return and propulsion are fundamental factors when choosing the right shoe. The knowledge that I have the new ASICS technologies on my feet during a training session or race fills me with confidence and positivity. So, I believe that intangible factors like perception and emotionality carry significant weight and heavily influence the more tangible ones like performance.”


MORE THAN FOOTBALL JERSEYS - ICARUS FOOTBALL

Interview with the minds behind Icarus Football Designs

From an early age, Robby Smukler’s heart beat for sketchbooks dedicated to football jerseys for imaginary clubs – teams located in random cities or countries. 

Playing football in Philadelphia, Robby noticed that teams were forced to wear impersonal and boring designs from the usual established brands. Together with a group of friends and talented graphic designers, he decided to turn his childhood passion into a new, atypical reality, creating one of the world’s most innovative and fastest-growing football kits related brand: Icarus Football.

Since its inception in 2017, Icarus has taken its uniquely designed kits and jerseys to more than 3,000 teams around the world. The Icarus Cup, a tournament shaped by the Philly grassroots football community, helped this process. Athleta Magazine will be part of the 2024 edition, hosted between July 12-14, through a special jersey created by Icarus designers.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Robby Smukler and Jaden Stevenson, the designer who created the Athleta kit, and got an up-close look at both the magic and passion that drive this project.

Considering that you are both American, where does your love for football or ‘soccer’ and kit design come about? 

Robby: 

“I was really interested in the sort of intersection between sports, history and culture. I just loved how jerseys symbolize that in a way. How they express identity through the medium that is sports uniform and how the symbolism and the colors resonate with fans and become their identity factor. Just as a hobby growing up, I would draw out jerseys and logos for cities and countries around the world. Then I played football in college, so it’s a pretty big part of my life. I think football has a kind of deeper and richer history and relationship between the culture, the identity and the values of a country, region or a city than any other sport. The main reason why I created the company was because I looked around and noticed that the teams playing in the states weren’t wearing anything that connected the team’s identity with their jerseys. So I started the company to give teams that ability to express themselves through jerseys and by giving them access to a proper designer that is able to work directly with them to tell their story and make jerseys that actually make sense for them.”

We know that you used to worship Shevchenko. Growing up in Philly, where everybody talks about basketball and football while you were thinking about soccer jerseys, how was that for you?

Robby: 

“I’m a huge Philadelphia sports fan. Allen Iverson is my favorite athlete ever, there is that side of things too. I was fortunate to have soccer as my favorite sport growing up. I lean more towards football stuff, but I love all Philly sports, especially basketball. When I was seven or eight my mom put together all my drawings into a book which was a sort of World Cup preview magazine. I did logos for all the different teams. Pretty much just imagining what a logo and jersey for each country would be. My hobby was literally to look at the map and pick a city or a country and then design a logo and a jersey for it..”

Jaden, you also had a past in the U.S. school system related to football, right?

Jaden:

“I was into lots of sports at a really young age. I had an older brother, Reid, that was obsessed with football and I really just tried to follow him the best I could. Whether that be copying his goal celebrations or wearing his team’s kits. I think that was probably the first time I got interested in kits. I come from a family where basically everyone plays football and creates art. It was very easy for me to lean into the art heavily because of my mother and then combine it with football. When I was playing in high school, I started to take art a bit more seriously and found my personal style in a way. Then, while I was playing in college, I randomly found out about Icarus Football on Twitter. I reached out to Robby immediately basically saying that I loved the project, what he was doing in the football design space and that I wanted to work with him however I could. There really wasn’t anything like Icarus Football at the time. Now, it’s quite cool to see how popular the custom football kit design market has gotten. But before, there wasn’t anybody paying as much attention to designing football shirts like Icarus Football was. 

Can you share with us the most inspiring jerseys that you saw while you were kids?

Robby:

“I was born in 92. I really kind of fell in love with football jerseys in the late 90s and early 2000s. People said I played like Shevchenko so I was immediately drawn towards AC Milan. Also growing up in New Jersey, where there are a lot of Italian people, you just would see tons of Serie A jerseys around. I was really into that aesthetic and Italian design. It’s kind of the gold standard in a lot of ways. When I was 9 or 10, my family took a trip to Italy. We went to Rome, Florence, Venice, and I remember all the stalls that sold imitation jerseys and begging my parents to buy them for me. Those are still in my closet somewhere.

Jaden:

I grew up in a rural town in Wisconsin, around 9000 people, so my exposure to different countries and their designs weren’t very accessible to me first hand. For me, a lot of inspiration was player focused. My brother was obsessed with Cristiano Ronaldo, so I’d have a variety of Manchester United and Real Madrid shirts to steal and wear. For me, I had an acute interest in the US National Team and MLS. Clint Dempsey was my favorite player growing up; I remember wearing his bootleg 2014 World Cup shirt until it fell apart. Even though the US didn’t necessarily have the most interesting kits, they were still my favorite to wear because of what the players meant to me. In college I really started to take up an interest in exploring and researching more on different countries and cultures to grow and develop my style from.”

Focusing on your role on the Icarus project, can you tell us something about the connection between every design and its storytelling?

Robby:

“Like i was saying before, imagine you’re playing football with your friends, and it becomes this kind of thing where you’re building a culture around this group of guys, where you’re going to a bar after the game, you’re having meals after the game, you’re really creating this new kind of friendship, and there hasn’t really been a way to express that. That’s where the jerseys come in, is the perfect medium to express that shared identity. What we do is try to meld everything together to make it look good, and connect what’s important to the club with reference points that make sense. Making it look like a football jersey, and something that’s going to actually look good on people that are going to wear it even off the pitch. You can tell the story of this group through soccer uniforms.”

What are the most inspiring and strangest storytelling projects that you had the opportunity to develop? 

Robby:

The strangest project that comes to mind is a “shrek-inspired” jersey, stuff like that. But it’s not our duty to say why they would want to come and do it, that’s their thing. I think the reason the strangest projects aren’t actually that strange for us is because we try to not take it too seriously. We care more about groups having fun and getting together, having this really positive kind of social interaction. This is the most important thing to me. We have a club called Dairy World FC and they have “cow-print” jerseys. For us, that’s not strange. That’s the beauty of sport, and how fun it can be. We almost look forward to doing those, it’s way more fun. The most inspiring projects are the ones for clubs that have a sort of charitable or socially concerned component. Where we’re not just helping to express the team identity but also create this affordable option for kids that often aren’t able to play football. In Philly we have projects that explore the relationship between Philadelphia-specific pride and football, and that’s a very nice thing. Ultimately, the best experience when working with clubs is really getting to know them. That’s the main reason why we do it. we want to develop these intimate relations with clubs.”

Jaden:

“For me the most inspiring side of our job is creating and/or telling the story of a community through the football kits we create; this is the most rewarding part of it. Seeing people not only wear it for matches, but to go on a night out, to work, to do groceries, it’s very fulfilling. It’s also very inspiring to see the teams that exist in the “Icarus Football universe” to eventually meet one another, buy each other’s shirts and become friendly.

Talking about the Icarus Cup and the Athleta’s jersey, what was the inspiration behind the creative process of this jersey?

Jaden:

“Every year at the Icarus Cup we try to take on different focuses. As it is an Olympic year, we wanted to focus on the different countries around the world. Every design is inspired from these nation’s architecture, flags, food, lifestyle, clothing, music or just general “vibe”. We took cities from these countries we thought were interesting and beautiful, and we ended up with 80 kits after designing around 150 preliminary kits. The idea was to bring the world to Philadelphia through the designs on these shirts. For the jersey we did for Athleta, the inspiration of course was the city of Verona. I was inspired by Chievo Verona directly for the color scheme. The geometric Icarus god pattern came naturally as I was drawing inspiration from the 80s and 90s Serie A football kits that feature interesting geometric patterns that often set the background of the kits. What I had envisioned was everyone on the team wearing two sizes up, drowning in the shirts, and popping the collars. Trying to capture the essence and the vibe of that retro Serie A football.”

What are your future goals and dreams? 

Robby:

“On the icarus Cup side, we run this with an organization called “CASA Soccer” which is the biggest league organizer in the Northeast and they run the Philadelphia grassroots football scene. We have a combined vision of bringing this tournament to other communities and making the Icarus Cup this really great festival of grassroots football, being organized by people who love playing in it. Trying to make this tournament look sick is something we are really passionate about. On the brand side, I think just continuing to work with clubs that fuck with us. Obviously, we’d love to work with bigger clubs, but for us it’s more about finding the right partners, and continuing to have a brand that really speaks to a segment of the population that wants to have fun and wants to not take themselves seriously but at the same time, love the sport and is passionate about it. We want to continue to grow, and to continue to work with clubs around the world, do more and more events, and bring more and more clubs into the icarus family.

Jaden:

“We’ve reached a very good point and we’re proud of who we work with and where we sit in football design. From a designer point of view, I know we’ll continue to push the boundaries of traditional football kit design and integrate new artistic ways of expressing our football clubs and communities.


Sam William Andrews, the hybrid story of a rider-creator

From wheels to lens, interview with the multidimensional rider and photographer from Bristol

Cycling can inspire parallel paths, such as visual communication and content production. Sam William Andrews succeeds in connecting these dots. Born and raised in Bristol, this British rider-creator over time has touched different athletic universes, shaping both his sporting and artistic identities.  After years of skate, BMX, and road cycling, today Andrews is both exploring gravel, participating in the world’s most renowned competitions, and evolving his own aesthetic, composed of visions that convey deep knowledge and sense of the present.

His words show a life marked by sport and its imagery, and describe a new generation of athlete-artists-human beings capable of rhyming physical effort with lenses and perspectives. The testimony of this contemporary storyteller is a focus on those who in sport see not just a realm of performances and PBs, but a unique, constant muse.

Can you tell us something about your sporting and photographic journey?

“As a kid I started with BMX, I was outside every day, all day. After some injuries, I transited into skateboarding. Skate culture is a fusion of arts and lifestyle, so in the skate period it was natural to create some content of our progression. Then I switched to fixed gear bikes, and I competed all over Europe, even participated in a Red Hook Criterium. Then, when I felt the need to take things a little more seriously, I got into cyclocross and road criteriums. I quickly realized that content creation and community in cycling was still very traditional and very different from the skate or fixie culture. The aesthetic perspectives that I’ve gained in the various steps of my sports journey have helped me become a content creator for these cycling universes. It’s great to show cycling through the lens and capture different emotions and adventures…. I studied photography in college, but I never thought I would find myself collaborating with brands and racing in lycra.”

You are simultaneously an athlete, photographer and content creator, how would you define yourself?

“I don’t know, it’s definitely a pretty hard balance. I work full time alongside all of this, so it’s difficult to prepare 100% for a race. I think the most important thing has been and continues to be discipline, because you have to sacrifice a lot of things to have a proper structure…. I’ve experienced times when I’ve asked myself ‘what are you doing?’, but when you feel you’ve built something or achieved something, you realize everything was really worth it. Of course there is pressure in both ways. I have the pressure of work on one side and the result of the races on the other. I can control more the creative and storytelling part, but the performance part one has too many unknowns: you can train great and feel well, but if during a race your legs don’t work, you can’t do anything about it…. Despite this, cycling is helping me and giving me so much time in the nature. It makes me feel free. It allows me to be constantly inspired by my surroundings, especially during the big races. Last year I participated in BADLANDS, 40 hours of non-stop gravel, no rest or sleep. Races like this give me a lot of time to think and observe. Dramatic views and emotions are two cornerstones of my photographic research.”

How would you define your relationship with gravel and the many brands you work with, such as Alba Optics and MAAP?

“It is crucial to work with brands that you believe in and trust. I always told myself that I would not collaborate with brands that I don’t like, or believe in the same vision as me. So I simply tried to build a network of products that I love to use. I’m very happy with the long relationships I’ve been able to build. Speaking of gravel, right now this world is taking a new direction-it’s much more professional than it was a few years ago. It used to be all about self-sufficiency and being out there alone for a long time with little support. Now at most races, you need a full support crew, and it’s all about marginal gains. I don’t know if I like this aspect of it, but at the same time it’s what’s growing the sport, giving us opportunity to race professionally, and making it exciting for people to follow the action. I see myself steering more and more towards long distances, where I’m really alone and vulnerable. No one is looking for you. Results don’t matter. You are with yourself for days and nights, experiencing all conditions and emotions. Long distances push you beyond your limits. Of course, the pointy end of gravel continues to fascinate and shape me as an athlete, but I don’t know how much longer I will be able to compete at such a high level…. In the end, I think my only passion is to be out there and enjoy every adventure.”

What are your plans for the future?

“In the short term I have The Rift in Iceland, a series of UCI gravel races, and some road criteriums in the UK. I will also look to go for some FKTs. In the long term, as I said before, I would like to focus more on ultra adventure races. I think I would find so much for myself there. On a photographic level I will push to work with more brands and expand my portfolio outside the cycling universe. Lastly, I would also like to try to focus on video and film production. We’ll see how far I can take all these things.”


J. Michael Prince, of polo, authenticity and culture

Riders and calcianti, we heard the evocative story of USPA Global President & Chief Executive Officer J. Michael Prince

Riders and calcianti. Polo and Calcio Storico Fiorentino. Rarely has the modern sports imagination witnessed such an evocative ‘match made in heaven’: a connection that unites activities steeped in history, tradition but also uniquely modern. On the iconic stage of Piazza Santa Croce, US POLO Assn. has once again elevated the image of its sport and brand by forming a unique synergy with the most identifiable game in the city-cradle of the Italian Renaissance. It all took place during a one-of-a-kind week inspired by Pitti Uomo.

We met with USPA Global President & Chief Executive Officer J. Michael Prince on this momentous occasion. His story underscores that age-old fascination we humans have for sports that become both cultural heritage and a breeding ground for style and fashion. The words and career of this American professional perfectly tell the tale of a symbiosis between athletics and fashion culture. His story lets us discover the legacy and timeless philosophy of US POLO Assn. and dive into a life that has always gravitated around a passion for sports.

Price starts by saying that US POLO Assn.is more than just a brand; it is the engine behind global polo itself. It is a virtuous blend of philanthropy, sensitivity and unconditional support for a compelling sport that sees athletes and horses perform in unison, reflecting the atavistic relationship between human and animal in modern times. US POLO Assn., above all, represents the desire to continue a legend that began more than 2,000 years ago, sharing and expanding it throughout the world. It is a brand that nurtures a sport and the sport that nurtures the brand.

Your professional career is deeply rooted in sports culture. Can you tell us something about your relationship with it?

“Ever since I was a child, sports have always been important. Thanks to it, I learned the meaning of teamwork and dedication in high school, along with winning and losing gracefully. These concepts have carried over into my professional career. I worked for Converse, a sports-inspired brand, where I had the opportunity to connect with many elite athletes, especially from basketball. Then I moved on to Nike, and then I had the opportunity to supervise other iconic brands like Umbro, which has always been a part of football culture. These experiences allowed me to cut my teeth and learn from some of the best brands in the world, not just in sports. When the opportunity to work with US POLO Assn. came along, I didn’t see it just as a fashion brand but as organically connected to the soul of a sport. And polo isn’t just any sport. Not many people know it, but polo has been played for over 2,000 years; its origins can be traced back to about 600 B.C. And the USPA – United States Polo Association, our governing body, was founded in 1890. That’s why our brand loves to talk about sports history and our deep connection with it. What I also loved about working with Converse, for example, was that it is accessible to everyone, and I found the same thing in US POLO Assn. I’m aware that I’m part of a sport-inspired brand that needs to communicate with working families worldwide. In my vision, it’s essential to be part of a brand that is accessible to everyone, and the same reasoning applies to polo.”

What does it mean to represent a brand that’s so rooted in history? Is it more a sense of pride or responsibility?

“I feel both. In an increasingly noisy world, sports continue to be so authentic, so real…. Everyone can relate to sports by playing or watching them. The most valuable feature of US POLO Assn. lies in being the authentic brand of the sport in the States and around the world. Applying this kind of sports inspiration to our brand lets us sell our clothes in 190 countries, and I think that’s really special. In the last five years, we’ve grown tremendously, over a billion dollars in sales, and I’m convinced this is connected to what we stand for. Consumers relate to more than just a brand. Our real, tangible connection to a sport and our timeless designs are essential in our relationship with them.”

You have stated in various interviews that you’ve fallen in love with polo. What are the unique qualities of the sport?

“I attended my first polo match when I joined US POLO Assn. I was blown away by the performances of the elite athletes, and I’m not just talking about the riders but their horses, their partners. The way they moved in unison, on the field, made me think of it as an art form. It is great that two ‘players’ work together as one…. Then I looked around, there were so many families in the stands together, people who were connecting through this wonderful sport. I realizez then that I was part of one of the most beautiful sports in the world. That’s also why I’m proud of our global events – they let us introduce polo to so many people who don’t know about it.”

The partnership with Calcio Storico Fiorentino is a match made in heaven. It’s two sports that have incredible sports legacies. How are these legendary disciplines spread worldwide and, in the case of US POLO Assn., in today’s market?

“What we see here is respect for tradition. And that is always very, very important. You have to respect the past to embrace the future. I think of the many fans of Calcio Storico Fiorentino, who are passionate about a sport that’s been around for hundreds of years; it started way back in 1200 A.D. And then think of them discovering a sport like polo, which has been around for 2,600 years…it’s incredible. Then, we put them all in the wonderful city of Florence – I can’t imagine a more beautiful combination of sports and places than this. I’m also really excited about what will happen in Paris, where we’ll combine our 135th anniversary with the 100th anniversary of the Olympics in the French capital. There will be a match between the U.S. and French national teams… These events give polo a chance to show itself to the whole world, and that really excites me.”

The present and future of US POLO Assn. and the sport it represents are closely connected to sustainability and the well-being of animals. How do these two issues impact the directions you are taking as a brand and as a sport?

“In sports, we put that deep relationship between human and equine athlete first. You need to be aware and protective of the health of your horsers. When you see a polo match, the mutual love between rider and horse is immediately evident…. And every possible precaution is taken to safeguard both and keep them healthy. As a brand, we’re always thinking about these issues. We have a clear philanthropic vocation; we are at the forefront in donating funds to support the polo community. We invest in the welfare of the horses, support the players, but also spread this culture through the creation, for example, of a museum. It is crucial for us to have this philanthropic ecosystem that allows us to give something back to the sport, but also to the many foundations that help it.”

Credits

U.S. Polo Assn. / De Paolis

Gianmarco Pacione


Behind the Lights - Chris Caporaso

We discover the evocative, minimalist lens of the Australian photographer

Lines can communicate, geometry can inspire, and in minimalism we can find the purest aesthetic-this explains Australian photographer Chris Caporaso’s lens. In an increasingly confusing and contrived world, his visions elevate the beauty of sporting simplicity, as well as its protagonists and tools. Yet the 37-year-old Melbourne based creative is an active part of athletic complexity. In fact, he divides his time between the day-to-day job as an Australian football match analyst with his photographic production-a crossroads as atypical as it’s fruitful.

“I grew up in Adelaide, and so my earliest sports memories are related to the Formula 1 GPs I watched with my father. I was obsessed with cars; I kept drawing them as a kid. I still have stuck in my mind the names and aesthetics of teams like Benetton and Rothman Williams…. Time led me to become a match analyst for an Australian professional football team. During the pandemic, when we had to isolate ourselves from everyone in order to continue the season, I basically lived with my entire workplace on the Gold Coast for a hundred days. The situation was draining me. So I took the camera with me and started capturing things. I discovered photography as a teenager, and I always took cameras with me on family trips. It wasn’t until 2020 that I realized how much I really needed this outlet: photography is giving me balance in my everyday life and, at the same time, allowing me to develop freelance projects parallel to my ordinary job. Thanks to the lens I can leave football and its chaotic dynamics aside for a few hours, clearing my mind.”

Chris’s visions are the product of an academic and human journey committed to aesthetic taste. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture and a path in design, Chris’s photographic style is at the intersection of contemporary documentary, social coolness, and fashion vibes connected to the streetwear universe.

“I think my photographic style is always evolving, but it has a consistency. My early studies in design and my interest in architecture are foundations for my visual production. I do love minimal and monochromatic aesthetics. And I also love diving into cultures, representing their uniqueness. I’ve been to New York many times, so there’s a heavy influence there…it’s always been a great source of creative inspiration for me walking around with headphones on, and capture what’s happening on the streets and the down in the subway. My sports photography focuses mostly on Formula 1, tennis and sneakers. I’ve been incredibly lucky to visit the F1 paddock on a few occasions, I kind of just appreciate the cars as art themselves, the aerodynamics and innovation behind them that form aggressive lines and nice curves making them quite photogenic…. The same happens when I watch a tennis match. During a tournament like the Australian Open, the colors and the perfect lines are so aesthetically pleasing, lending itself to interesting compositions. It’s almost poetic to me how that perfect series of lines then forms a shape that a sport with such history is then won and lost between. Sneakers are a lifelong interest of mine and are part of my identity. I’ve spent a lot of time shooting sneakers both for the culture and also some commercially. My all-time favorite pair is the Nike Air Max 1 Atmos Elephants but the sneaker that got me into the culture is the Nike Air Max 90 Infrareds. Right now I’m probably just wearing some New Balance 990s.V6’s in grey. In my photography I want people to feel something through my images. I can be a bit of a minimalist, I like my images to be clean and use depth in a way to direct your eye. I want everything to be aligned, and the colors to compliment each other…. Like most creatives I can be my own greatest critic sometimes”

Now divided between the tactical studies of a unique sport such as Australian football and the development of a creative career, Chris continues in his pursuit of elegant details and essential spaces. “In the last period I have planted a seed both in my head and subconscious,” says the Melbourne based photographer, “I would like to make a definitive transition into the creative world. The football environment is exciting. Helping the team and providing support for players and coaches fulfills me, but I have a dream, or rather a hope, that I can devote myself completely to creativity. Maybe one day it will happen.”


San Lorenzo and South American football ecstasy

Basile Bertrand's perspectives elevate the relationship between football religion and Argentine irrationality

Argentina’s passion for ‘el Fútbol’ is encapsulated in the Nuévo Gasometro, the as heavenly as it is hellish den of San Lorenzo de Almagro. In the home of the ‘Ciclón’, the relationship between the South American soul and the ‘Beautiful Game’ is elevated between sacredness and illogicality. The Copa América has started, and we can listen to the testimony and look at the images of Basile Bertrand, a French photographer who, thanks to his deep ultras knowledge, managed to breathe the air of the ‘Popular’: where the love for San Lorenzo becomes madness. And where South American football shows itself in all its magic.

What photographic path led you to portray the San Lorenzo fans?

“Photography and football have been with me for as long as I can remember. I discovered photography as a young child, following my friends at the playground or skatepark with my camera. It wasn’t until I was 17, during a trip with my parents to Morocco, that I realized I wanted to be a documentary photographer. Then I studied in Paris, at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs too, and in my spare time I started portraying friends in the suburbs. The world of streetwear reached out to me naturally, and a couple of years ago I started working as a professional photographer and shooting campaigns (Carhartt WIP, Maison Kitsuné, Salomon and K-Way are some examples of his clients – ed.). Part of my photographic production, however, has always been and continues to be connected to the ultras subculture. Years ago I was a big Paris Saint Germain fan, traveling all over the country, and the stands vibes inspired a lot of my research on Italian ‘tifosi’ and English ‘hooligans’… Then I stopped following PSG, but the passion for the ultras universe kept going on.”

Why did you choose the ‘Ciclón’ and how did you experience the impact with the energy of the Nuévo Gasometro?

“The Argentine hinchadas were obviously part of my research. The rivalry and history of Boca and River are fantastic, but they are very well known. San Lorenzo is something different. So I decided to go study in Buenos Aires for a few months, and after watching two matches at the Bombonera, I visited the Nuévo Gasometro. At the Bombonera it was difficult to take pictures, I wasn’t surrounded by a good mood, while at the Nuévo Gasometro there was a different vibe…. I became a ‘member’ of the club and joined ‘Popular’. The first few matches I was a little afraid, because it is not easy to be a photographer among this kind of fans. In Paris, for example, I couldn’t photograph in the ultras zone. The atmosphere at the Gasometro, however, was immediately incredible. So many people greeted me speaking in Spanish, they asked me why I was there. They were sincerely interested. After 4-5 games I already had friends. “We love football and we love the same club,” they would tell me, “We can be friends.” All that mattered to them was that I was there in order to support San Lorenzo. After I built that relationship, I started carrying the camera without any problems. I can say that to this day I still feel like a San Lorenzo fan.”

What kind of images did you want to capture, and what is the most iconic moment of your Argentinian football experience?

“There are not many photographers focused on ultras or hooligan culture. So, I still have no reference points or models to follow. Inside the stadium I tried and still try to photograph details or moments that no one has ever seen. The most significant moment was definitely a child being lifted up by his father. The story of this shot is funny, when I first saw the scene, I couldn’t take the picture…. But an elderly fan saw me and asked the father to lift his son again. The child must have been less than a year old…. “The ‘gringo’ wants to take your picture,” he told him. So, the father lifted his little son into the air, and I was able to portray that magical moment. That scene represents the mindset of South American, Argentine and San Lorenzo fans. I really don’t know what to say, thinking back to that instant of football ecstasy.”

San Lorenzo vs Boca Juniors

Photo credits:

Basile Bertrand

Text by

Gianmarco Pacione


“Winner”- A Conversation with Marianna Simnett

The exhibition for the art and culture program of UEFA EURO 2024

On June 14th, the first UEFA EURO 2024 football match took place in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. The German capital will be immersed in four weeks of European football. And it’s not just about playing. Numerous other cultural events will take place throughout the city, including the “Radical Playgrounds” art trail around the Gropius Bau and “WINNER”, a film installation by Marianna Simnett.

“WINNER” is a three-act dance film told through the lens of football, displayed as an immersive installation at Hamburger Bahnhof Museum in Berlin. Shot on 16mm, the film explores football as a metaphor for the intense societal pressure to perform, our expectations of ourselves and others, and a pervasive emphasis on winning and losing. This film is performed by a group of contemporary dancers who play hooligans, ticket officers, wardens, and fouling footballers, and is based on some of football’s most iconic fouls, radically transformed through dance, art and music.

We had the pleasure of talking with Marianna Simnett, the director of the project.

Marianna Simnett, WINNER, (film still), 2024, Super 16mm film transferred to video. Courtesy the artist and Société, Berlin

How did you feel when you got the call for making a film for the 2024 Euro Cup ?

“When the directors of Hamburger Bahnhof called me and asked if I wanted to make a football project related to the Euro Cup I felt flattered and surprised because I am an unlikely candidate to speak about this topic. I was not a part of the football world but this also allowed me to see it with fresh eyes. Whilst this project greatly honors the sport, it also speaks to wider topics about our humanity such as love, passion and violence.” 

What was the inspiration behind WINNER and how did you decide to explore the themes of football through the artistic work?

“I was interested in two main stereotypes: the fact that football is mostly associated with masculinity; and Ultra culture, extreme fans often associated with hooliganism. I wanted to explore the very reasons why I felt rejected from this male-dominated sport and investigate what makes fans go to such extremes to show their devotion. I was also interested in the way football players dealt with weakness, failure and injury; so I got super interested in iconic fouls, referee training, and the performance of bravado on the pitch. Referees don’t really get a big name in sport, and the media always portrays them as men. So I wanted to foreground this figure who’s at the center of the game but isn’t normally the one who is celebrated.”

Marianna Simnett, WINNER, (film still), 2024. Courtesy the artist and Société, Berlin
Marianna Simnett, WINNER, (film still), 2024, Super 16mm film transferred to video. Courtesy the artist and Société, Berlin

How did you challenge yourself to reinterpret some iconic football moments, like when Zidane headbutted Materazzi’s chest and other famous ones through dance and performance?

“I researched the most iconic fouls from football history. Of course I had to include Zidane. I also got very into Cantona’s kick, Schumacher vs Battiston, Ewald Lienen and many more. I was really interested in recreating these moments of impact, but through the language of dance, transforming something violent into a fluid movement. So myself and the choreographer, Ben Duke, studied the football fouls again and again, watched exactly how they were filmed, which angle and how they’re presented in the media. Then we recreated it through a combination of dance and camera work. We also used a lot of long lenses to emulate some of the camera work on the field and filmed it in slow motion, so you really see every minor detail.“

Marianna Simnett, WINNER, (film still), 2024, Super 16mm film transferred to video. Courtesy the artist and Société, Berlin

In your works you usually try to take common perceptions or social status and reverse them, or at least explore them in a different way. For this work, you took the most common perceptions of football: a male sport, a sport with lots of fouls, and the win-or-lose mentality, and put it in a social perspective. How did you manage to spotlight these aspects of our society through football?

“The work’s title, “WINNER”, also relates to my art. It’s not an easy career. It’s very competitive. “WINNER” holds a mirror to society, and is for football and non-football fans alike. In both Art and Sport, there is a perpetual craving for validation sought by others. But no matter how fast you run, the goal post is always moving.”

“As well as focusing largely on the fouls, the film is based on a short story called “The Destructors” written by Graham Greene in 1954. I used the metaphor of destruction to comment on our desire to win, and how winning can paradoxically also sometimes feel like losing.”

Marianna Simnett, WINNER, (film still), 2024, Super 16mm film transferred to video. Courtesy the artist and Société, Berlin
Marianna Simnett, WINNER, (film still), 2024. Courtesy the artist and Société, Berlin
Marianna Simnett, WINNER, (film still), 2024. Courtesy the artist and Société, Berlin

And how do you see “WINNER” contributing to building this conversation about the intersection of art, sports and life and this aspect of winning that brings everything together?

“I just try to create a universal feeling within my audience, something that feels both familiar and strange. I also highlight typically ignored characters such as the referee and the hotdog seller but making them the central protagonists. The discrepancy of income between a football player getting paid millions and a hotdog lady getting basic wage is arbitrary. They are both integral parts of the experience of going to a game.”

“Working with extraordinary people, such as Robbie Ryan BSC, Bendik Giske, Lydia Lunch, Sybella Stevens, Brendan Feeney at Wave Studios, Vers, and a village of talent, made my work easier. We just all got together in a room and made magic happen. When a lot of amazing people come together and work towards a shared goal, it’s a winning formula.”

Marianna Simnett, WINNER, (film still), 2024. Courtesy the artist and Société, Berlin
Marianna Simnett, WINNER, (film still), 2024. Courtesy the artist and Société, Berlin
Marianna Simnett, WINNER, (film still), 2024. Courtesy the artist and Société, Berlin

Photo credits:

Studio Simnett

Text by

Filippo Libenzi


Niki Terpstra, cycling is in my blood

Briko gave us a better understanding of a modern cycling legend

How much excitement can you get from cycling after you’ve won a Paris-Roubaix and a Tour of Flanders? Some would say none. Others, like Niki Terpstra, would definitely disagree. Thanks to Briko, we had the chance to meet a real-life legend on two wheels who, after giving the world several unforgettable experiences in the most famous competitions of the globe, has decided to enter a new phase in his relationship with cycling.

It is a mature stage that focuses less on extreme performance and moves toward inner and outer exploration. It is the time of gravel and Granfondo Briko Torino, where we watched Terpstra cover that majestic distance between the Motovelodromo and Superga. It is, above all, a time for sharing. Terpstra does this through physical vigor and voice, as his ‘Speed on Wheels’ podcast demonstrates.

The Beverwijk native explains that cycling is not just a sport but a vocation. Always has been, and always will be. 

“I was born and raised in the northern region of Holland. I played football for awhile, but it wasn’t for me…. Then, when I was eight years old, I started cycling. I quickly realized how much I liked to bike hard, and I started watching my first cycling events on TV. Nobody else in my family had any interest in that kind of thing, and they were all surprised when I told them I wanted to join a club. I can still remember that moment after signing up when they gave me a small racing bike…. From that moment on, I loved cycling.”

Terpstra’s eyes shine as he retraces his first steps in the world of cycling, suggesting a love that has changed over time but never subsided. Not in the face of lavish contracts and huge stages. Not in the face of pressure.

“In the beginning, biking was a hobby, and it let me spend time with my friends. When I was in school, all I thought about was the final bell and getting on my bike…. That sensation of flying with my legs has always been an incredible feeling for me. Over time, cycling became a profession and the focus definitely shifted to performance. Now, after finishing my road career and starting a new gravel phase, I’m looking for the right mix of competition and joy. In some ways, I feel like a child again when I get in the van with my friends and we prep the bikes together.”

Four World road team time trial golds, three National road titles, a E3 Harelbeke and an Eneco Tour, in addition to those Paris-Roubaix and Flanders we mentioned before. Terpstra isn’t ashamed to admit that he dreamed of achieving these legendary successes, but reliving them at the dawn of the second chapter of his cycling life allows for an even deeper understanding of their mark on him.

“During those first steps as a pro, I was incredibly proud to be part of the peloton in these legendary races. In particular, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders have always been my favorite races. Winning them was incredible. When I think back, I can still feel that pride reverberating inside me…. I remember every single kilometer of those races, along with the preparation leading up, and then that explosion of emotions on the finish lines. My secret, or rather, my trick for winning is to build a set of goals and push my personal limits to arrive at the end of the race …. This attitude has helped me win some special races in my career.”

It’s hard to change professional ‘habits’, Terpstra admits, but he says his relationship to the human and social landscapes in each race have shifted. What was once punctuated by seconds and frequencies is today marked by cultural curiosity and a desire for knowledge.

“As a pro, I traveled all over, but rarely did I get to explore. Everything came down to buses, hotels, getting from point A to point B…. I was focused on the race. After I finished my career, I’ve started to enjoy those places that cycling takes me. Now, for example, I’m in Piedmont for the Granfondo Briko Torino, and I’m admiring the local architecture, as well as its blend of history and cultures, which is also a part of sports… like the plane crash of Grande Torino on Superga. Just by cycling there you can feel the respect Italians have for the athletes of the past. An event like the Granfondo also lets me connect with listeners of my podcast, ‘Speed on Wheels.’ A lot of my audience participates in these events, which I think are essential because they allow enthusiasts to bike alongside great riders. Here, I think all participants in Granfondo events, including professionals, are united by the same passion. It’s great to see, get to know and talk to this huge community.”

Whether it’s on the road or behind a microphone, communication is what lies ahead for Terpstra. He calls himself a sportsman by vocation, quoting a Briko claim that seems tailor-made for him. It is the vision of a cyclist who has handwritten key passages in the history of his sport and who, today, is entering a new dimension: broadcasting.

“Every day I wake up and want to do sports. That’s why I’m a sportsman by vocation. Sports and cycling are in my blood. It’s a real treat to talk about it through Briko. I have a long-standing relationship with this brand. When I was 9 years old, my heroes were champions like Mario Cipollini and the entire Mapei team, and they all wore Briko glasses. My aunt and uncle promised me a pair if I won a regional race, and that’s what I did…. I was overjoyed. That memory came back to me recently shortly after I embarked on my gravel journey. I saw that Briko was introducing the iconic ‘Detector’ model and we got in touch to talk about a partnership. In general, I want to focus on a series of gravel events between Europe and the U.S., including the World Championship in Belgium. In the long term, however, I don’t know what to expect…. But, for sure, it’s going to involve cycling.”