Giacomo Nizzolo points to his helmet.

The story behind Giacomo Nizzolo’s curious custom helmet design

The Italian and European champion is racing with a mock COVID-19 travel declaration on his helmet.

by Ronan Mc Laughlin

photography by Cor Vos

Giacomo Nizzolo may have missed out on the win at stage two of the Giro d’Italia, but he claimed some of the limelight in another way.

As Nizzolo jostled with Tim Merlier for the stage win – ultimately crossing the line in second place – you may have spotted something unusual about the Italian’s Ekoi helmet. You could even be forgiven for thinking a stray flyer or piece of paper was stuck to it.

The reality, however, required a touch more planning than that. The Italian and European champion confirmed on his Instagram account the custom helmet design he’s wearing is in fact a COVID-19 travel declaration.

The declaration states that “the undersigned Giacomo Nizzolo” – followed by his date and place of birth, professional category, team name, and UCI code – is “knowing of the criminal consequences in the case of false statement to public officials.”

Nizzolo states his reason for travel as “winning stages” between Turin and Milan. The message concludes with “Viva il Giro” and the former Maglia Ciclamino’s signature.

After being one of the first- and worst-hit countries in Europe, Italy began easing COVID-19 restrictions in some areas on April 26th. Six regions, however, remain under stricter lockdowns. Declarations such as Nizzolo’s were required for movement within Italy at the height of restrictions – albeit in paper and digital form, rather than on bicycle helmets.

Italy currently has the second-highest COVID-19 related death rate in the European Union, with 123,000 deaths from over 4.1 million cases. It is not clear if Nizzolo’s helmet design is motivated by protest, a jest in poor taste, or as a gesture of solidarity and support.

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