For me, Italy stands out as an important epicurean country. One can go to any part of that beautiful country and be showered with endless varieties of fine regional cuisine: great cheeses, pastas and delectable wines.
The art of cycling and eating was probably started by the Italians or atleast perfected. One rider in mind was ... Fausto Coppi. Not to mention his extraordinary palmarès, his racing achievements was born from his fastidious approach to his training regimen. A balance diet of meat, whole grain breads, pasta, vegetables, plenty of mineral water and importantly rest was a percursor to the modern training methods for todays rider's. He understood that diet = performance. Coppi knew very well for a rider to successfully perform, one must have the basics. Regular change of clean clothing: socks, fingerless gloves, jersey's, and short's(to counteract the pesky boils), and the presence of a doctor was pioneered by him. He upgraded his 'gregari' (domestiques) from slaves to teammates to perfect race strategy and tactics. Coppi consulted bike manufacturers to improve everything from toe straps, derailleurs to clothing.
'Il Campionissimo' was pure poetry on the bike and ... revolutionary in his training methods.
Molto grazie Coppi!
Photos, (top): Vittorio Adoni(l) teaches the Cannibal the fine Italian art of eating. From: 'Eddy Merckx.' (middle): The great Coppi may've perfected the art of shaving, too! (above): Spaghetti dinner on the go? Gianni Motta style. Both from: 'Cycling's Golden Age.'