The Giro is upon us and that’s always an exciting time. As ‘the most beautiful race’ traverses Italy and all its wonders over 20 days, we’ll be taking in some of the action of the first two weeks in the bars in our home region of Tuscany with friends and fellow tifosi, and then preparing for our own Giro d’Italia cycling tour in the final week of May, which takes us from from Turin to Prosecco Road over 9 days, and up many of the same climbs as the Pro’s during the final week of the race.
This week, we’ve selected our Top 5 Stages of the Giro 2022 – not only for the sensational racing expected of the stage, but also based on some of our favourite locations, tastes and vino selections across the various regions of Italy – because afterall, even the Giro is now about a whole lot more than just the racing – it’s a grand celebration of Italian cycling, culture and the diverse regions and people that make this country so very unique.
Our Top 5 Stages for the Giro d’Italia 2022
Stage 4 – Avola to Etna
This will be a great stage through some diverse landscape. It’s also a great wine stage, with the start rolling out of Avola, a town not only famous for the most internationally well recognised Sicilian wine, Nero d’Avola but also for its amazing almonds; the race will then roll through the magnificent baroque town of Noto, on the way to a little 22k climb up Mount Etna, and the home of the superb Etna Rosso.
After a recent recce in Sicily, we are putting the finishing touches on a Sicilian Cycling Tour which we will launch soon and will run in May 2023, where we’ll most definitely be rolling through this beautiful area of the Val di Noto and taking on one of the ascents of Mt Etna.
The big question is will Nibali take a win here on home roads?
Stage 8 – Napoli – Napoli
Napoli holds a special place in our hearts because it’s where Nancy’s family originates from. However, more than this, we’ve both always shared a great appreciation for the city’s beauty and architecture, its incredibly deep history and most of all, its people and food culture. It doesn’t matter how many times we visit, it always feels like we need more time to delve beneath its layers….and on a recent trip, where we spent 7 days in Napoli and Procida (or ‘little Napoli’), this year’s European Capital of Culture and a place the Giro stage is honouring, we loved immersing with the locals in one of their favourite holiday locations – from local fishermen bringing in the daily catch to nonna’s in the kitchen, Napoli is at the heart of authentic, rustic Italy….and we love it.
This will be an interesting stage with an absolutely spectacular backdrop. Described as challenging and intense, it will be raced solely on urban roads that includes 4 laps of a narrow and twisting circuit, before finishing on the beautiful wide and open Lungomare in the very heart of Napoli.
This is one stage that we would love to get to so that we can make a stop at our favourite little spot for the awesome Pizze Fritte….. just writing the words makes our mouth water.
Stage 12 – Parma – Genoa
Classified as a medium mountain stage, this stage will make for some intense racing. The first 96km’s are effectively uphill….. and with only a total of three category 3 climbs, will the breakaway, stay away?
The peloton will depart from Parma, the capital of the Italian Food Valley and a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, for its wealth of DOP and IGP products including Culatello di Zibello, Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma – a line-up of food products that we can never get enough of, not just for the taste sensation that they each deliver, but for the traditional, time honoured methods by which they are produced, and have been produced for hundreds of years.
The race will then proceed over the Apennine mountains as it heads towards the coast and the province of Liguria, before tackling two more climbs and a finish in the centro storico of Genoa, a northern Italian jewel set between the mountains and the Mediterranean – and the home of pesto! We absolutely love Liguria and if you’re looking for some inspiration on how best to enjoy this great region, take a look at our 5 days on the Italian Riviera.
Stage 16 Salo – Aprica
This is the queen stage across the Alps, with over 5,000 m vertical altitude gain and has the possibility of turning the GC leaderboard upside down, as it takes in Goletto di Cadino, the beautiful but tough Mortirolo, and finally Valico di Santa Cristina on the way to the finish in Aprica. There will be drama aplenty and we’ll be right there on the climb of Mortirolo to join the tifosi and cheer on the riders, after we have made our own ascent of Mortirolo earlier that day.
We’re always excited when Mortirolo and/or Stelvio feature on the Giro route, as they did in 2019, as it means a couple of sensational days riding in Bormio, and enjoying our favourite digestivo, Braulio.
Stage 17 Ponte di Legno – Lavarone
We’re looking forward to the start of stage 17 in Ponte di Legno, where we’ll get close to the action and the riders as they take in their last espresso after signing on. Being at the stage start and immersing ourselves as a group in the pre-race hype is always a really great experience – and this one will be extra special in the spectacular alpine setting of the small village of Ponte.
The race today is broken into 2 parts, with an uphill start and then what amounts to a 70km descent before the back half starts with some undulating terrain and then 2 category 1 climbs. Another tough and interesting day in the mountains and we can’t wait to be amongst it before then make our way across to Prosecco Road for a couple of days of great riding and race action in the Veneto.
We hope you enjoy the Giro as much as we plan to in 2022 and if you’re interested in joining our Giro Cycling Tour in 2023, be sure to sign up to our email list so we can keep you updated on our tour when it’s announced in November.