The Giro d’Italia 2019 route was touted as a challenging one, packed with climbs, first ever passes and passes that are pure legend – such as Mortirolo. We were there for all the action of the final week in the mountains, starting in warm conditions with a roll along the side of Lake Como and finishing in equally sunny conditions in the Dolomites, with the spectacular Sella Ronda….and we experienced all the same changeable conditions in-between that the Pro’s did with the snow still falling in some areas. It is what the Giro is renowned for and being there amongst all the action made for a challenging, fun and atmospheric week as we crossed paths with the race on 4 days across various starts, finishes and over mountain passes.
Our first two days took the group on loops around the lake that took in Bellagio, Madonna di Ghisallo and some sensational lake side scenery.
Tiny roads up, down and along the lake are not only engineering marvels, they also offer superb vistas around every corner.
One of the first of many hairpin corners for the tour on our way up to Madonna di Ghisallo.
A great atmosphere and all of the action of the Giro on the big screen in the village in the heart of Como’s Centro Storico.
Our daily aperitivo was high on the agenda as the afternoon moved into evening and the post ride conversations flowed, along with non-rider stories.
After our transfer to Bormio and with Passo dello Stelvio still closed due to snow falls, Cancano also known affectionately as “mini Stelvio”, was the climb of the day. A superb and every changing landscape of alpine meadows giving way to hairpin corners and craggy rock walls with a light dusting of rain, was a feast for the senses.
Our first tunnel of the tour at the top of Cancano was also the signal that the climb for the day was complete.
After our own ascent of the ever challenging Mortirolo, and through the tifosi lined along the road, we rolled back down the mountain to change, have lunch and stake out a spot on turn 11, where there is a monument to Pantani. As we waited, the mist rolled in and a little local grappa was in order to keep us warm. An epic day.
As the race made it up the mountain, so did the rain and while it dampened us and the landscape, it didn’t dampen our spirit and excitement. As we were walking back up the hill, it was surprising to see the riders who were well back from the main group, still have a sense of humour as they tried to duck under our umbrellas for a fleeting second as they battled up the mountain in pretty poor conditions.
An authentic and hearty dinner each night at a range of osteria’s and family run cucina’s, was the perfect way to cap off a sensational day at the Giro.
Experiencing a morning of artisan cheesemaking with a local Dolomiti family who not only opened up their farm and home, but also their generous hearts, made for a wonderful non-riding tour experience.
VIP access at the Stage 18 start village in Valdaora was just awesome. With a mainly flat, almost downhill stage, the riders were “tranquillo” and took the time to chat and hang out in the VIP enclosure before they departed.
Coffee and a little banter pre race. You can never have too much coffee.
John, with Australian Ben O’Connor and some of his Dimension Data teammates.
Rolling down a little country lane through some meadows before we tackle a Dolomiti mountain pass or two in the distance.
Our non riding partners also achieved their own PB’s in the Dolomites with mountain hikes and funivia experiences to peaks that immersed us in the natural beauty of this stunning UNESCO world heritage region.
In the thick of the Dolomites. This is a landscape that you can never tire of, where around every corner is a stupendous view that makes you realise just how tiny we are.
Post ride aperitivo, Dolomiti style. The local mountain beer paired with the local speck is a marriage made in heaven and always a highlight of our Giro and Dolomites tours.
Our day when we rode the iconic Sella Ronda, was one of the first warm days of the season. This is a short loop of 61k that takes in the four passes of Passo Campolongo, Passo Pordoi, Passo Sella and finally Passo Gardena. In superb conditions, this is a perfect day out in the Dolomites.
The road on the way up to Passo Sella; you round a corner and then look up to be greeted by this quintessential Dolomiti view. It’s just breathtaking.
A sensational final aperitivo and dinner as we say farewell to the Dolomites and to a fantastic group who took on and enjoyed every challenge – whether riding or enjoying the experience as a non rider.
If you are interested in joining our 2020 Giro d’Italia tour, we only have 5 spots remaining and you can click here for full details.