From the author
A graphic novel where photography / poetry / history / literature are combined into one narrative form. Text is in (English/Italian /Dutch). This book is a slow-down experience about the unrivalled ALFONSINA by a passionate photographer Ilona Kamps.
The result is a unique story told in photographs, accompanied by the reflections of Frank Heinen, Willie Verhegghe, Herman Laitem, Birgit Bekker, Bas Steman and Mariska Tjoelker
In Santuario della Madonna del Ghisallo, There, in that place of pilgrimage for racing cyclists, Ilona spotted a notice on the wall, between other riders’ bicycles: Bicicletta di Alfonsina Strada, prima donna al Giro d’Italia anno 1924’.
What? The simple reference to this woman, and her achievement, touched her. A kinship overtakes me and caught up my thoughts. 'Her energy seems like present, years after her death. On 16 August 2012, Ilona Kamps wiped the dust off the forgotten gravestone of Alfonsina Morini Strada, and made a promise ‘You deserve to be better known, Alfonsina!’
‘Once in a hundred years, an Alfonsina Strada is born’: a rare personality, a resolute pioneer. She had what it took to pick up the gauntlet before the whole of Italy and register for the ultra-tough Giro d’Italia of 1924 - because she wanted to, because she followed the promptings of her own heart and refused to be held back by scorn or mockery. Her perseverance enabled her to win through and live her life as a cycling pro. She died in 1959, virtually forgotten
The scrapbooks recording her cycling career succumbed to damp in a cellar. Over the course of three years, photographer Ilona Kamps followed in La Strada’s footsteps, determined to bring to light a history that must not be lost. , Ilona captured the subtle evidence of La Strada’s existence. Whatever the place, it always seems as though Alfonsina is still alive and has come along.
The result is a unique story told in evocative photographs,