When developing the ride program for a tour, it’s not all about finding the biggest and steepest hills, and mountain top passes that we can find.  It’s also not about creating a boot camp where you are in kit and on the bike from 8am until darkness.

For us, the riding program for all of our Italian cycling tours is about balance and including options that are going to give our riders the best, most diverse and most immersive experiences in the regions we traverse….and this includes our Giro d’Italia cycling tour.

So when we got word for the Giro 2020 route that Laghi di Cancano was hosting a finish after ascending Passo dello Stelvio from the Prato side, we were faced with the decision of where to ride to watch stage 18, which is shaping up to be the Queen stage of the Giro.

We have ridden Passo dello Stelvio and Cancano a number of times, and both are fantastic climbs. Having enjoyed these climbs on quiet days with the roads closed, and in the case of Stelvio, also with the many pilgrims riding up to watch the Giro stage going over the top in 2017, the decision was not a super easy one. However, taking these different experiences into account and then also factoring in our previous days’ rides on our Giro cycling tour 2020, the thinking process for Stage 18 went something like this:

  1. We have big days on the bike on days 3 and 4;
  2. The previous day (day 6), we ride Passo Mortirolo to Bormio, with a very interesting 60k and 2180m to complete;
  3. Yes, we will ride Passo dello Stelvio, for sure;
  4. Where is the best place to watch the Giro?
  5. Cancano is a pretty amazing location to watch the race, and would make for a sensational finish.
  6. Is the top of Stelvio too far away to watch the race finish? Do we need to see the finish here anyway, given we’ll have seen a finish earlier in the week?
  7. Where will there be the most action?
  8. Will we have time to ride Gavia, one of our all time favourite rides out of Bormio?
  9. What has been our best ride up Stelvio? It was amazing when there were no cars and not many other riders, but the Giro pilgrimage up Stelvio in 2017 was great fun and unforgettable.
  10. Afterall, this is the Giro going over Stelvio. That in itself is pretty special.

Ok, done. Stelvio it is.

This is the thinking and re-thinking that has gone into shaping our Giro cycling tour 2020 itinerary for days 7 and 8, and we’re really looking forward to a sensational tour.

Depending on the weather conditions, on day 7, we will make the pilgrimage to the top of Passo dello Stelvio to get amongst the action and watch the race roll over the top. Will we ride both sides? ….. we’ll make that decision on the morning and if we have a group keen to go long and a short group, that is also an available option.

On day 8, it’s all about Passo Gavia, which is our favourite climb in this area of the Italian Alps.

However, as we have learned from past tours of the Giro, we need to be nimble and have plans b and c in our pockets, as this whole rationale and thinking could be turned on its head, depending on the weather forecast……as happened this year with Passo Gavia. We missed Gavia, but ended up riding Passo Mortirolo and quietly sipping on our grappa to keep warm as we waited for the peloton on corner 11, with the Pantani monument in the background. It was just awesome. Even the rain at the end of the day, failed to dampen our spirits.

Whatever is thrown at us in May 2020, we can guarantee that there is always a solution and a fantastic experience that will unfold. It’s all just part of the Giro d’Italia adventure.

If you’d like to join us in 2020 for a quintessentially Italian adventure following the 103rd edition of the Giro d’Italia, we only have 4 spots available on our Giro cycling tour from 22nd to 30th May. Secure your spot now for the adventure of a lifetime.