On VBT’s Italian tours, Giro d’Italia fans can experience the flavor of their favorite cycling competition while pedaling Italy’s splendid hills and scenic coastline.
Cycling Star Power: VBT Delivers a Slice of the Giro d’Italia
Posted on Monday, May 22nd, 2023
Story by: Molly Waldstein | Travel Writer
The Giro d’Italia has been entertaining cycling fans since 1909—and it’s considered one of the most exciting bicycle races in the world. This famous contest takes place in Italy every year and attracts some of the world’s best cyclists to compete for the prestigious maglia rosa, or pink jersey, that represents the leader in the Giro d’Italia’s general classification. The race is a challenging and thrilling event that tests the riders’ endurance, strength, and tactical abilities.
The Giro d’Italia is a veritable who’s who of the world’s cycling elite. From Italian legends like Fausto Coppi and Marco Pantani to modern-day stars like Egan Bernal and Simon Yates, the race has seen its fair share of amazing athletes. The riders who compete in the Giro d’Italia come from all over the world, and they all bring their own unique style and strengths to the race. Watching these talented athletes push themselves to the limit is one of the highlights of the Giro d’Italia.
VBT’s Italian Connections Make Dreams Come True
Giro d’Italia’s fans are among the highlights of this legendary competition. Italian cycling fans are some of the most passionate and enthusiastic in the world, and they turn out in droves to cheer on their favorite riders. The atmosphere at the race is electric, and the fans create a sea of pink that stretches along the route. The fans add an extra element of excitement to the race, and it’s always fun to see the creative ways they show their support for the riders. Some of the guests on VBT’s Italian tours are Giro d’Italia fans looking to experience the flavor of their favorite cycling competition while pedaling Italy’s splendid hills and scenic coastline.
VBT trip leader Ale Ceppi lives and guides in the region around her native Bolgheri—a landscape that attracts many professional cyclists to train for the Giro d’Italia along its cypress-lined avenues with spectacular ocean views. Ale recalls leading VBT’s Italy: Southern Tuscany & Giglio Island Guided Tour, where one very special neighbor helped her and a VBT guest out of a jam:
“It was one of the best challenge days—with beautiful scenery,” recalls Ale. “I was riding in the back of the pack with a couple and one of their chains broke, along with a piece of the crankset. I was working to fix it, the van had already left, and it was difficult to see how the chain was entangled. As I’m working on it, I hear someone call my name and ask if we need help. It was a friend of mine cycling past—and when he called my name, I could see my guest turn white as a sheet. It turns out, he recognized my friend—Andrew Hampsten, winner of the Giro d’Italia 20 years before. And there he was, helping me fix this broken chain! After the bike was fixed, my guest thanked Andy—and even got a selfie with him.”
VBT’s Italian trip leaders love to introduce VBT guests to their local friends—and in some cases, that can even carry a little bit of Giro d’Italia star power!
Cycling La Cipressa
Every year, Giro d’Italia follows a different route, and the stages vary from flat, fast sprints to grueling mountain climbs. The organizers of the Giro d’Italia try to include some of the most beautiful and challenging landscapes in Italy, which means that the race can be as breathtaking as it is demanding. The changing route keeps the race fresh and interesting, and it’s always exciting to see what new challenges the riders will face.
Fans of the Giro d’Italia follow all the routes in detail—and often line the streets of villages and towns along the way. In 2019, the Giro d’Italia route went past VBT’s Italian office in Lamporecchio, Tuscany—just outside Florence. VBT’s Field Operations staff hung banners along the route and stood outside to cheer the riders on!
Fans of the Giro d’Italia have long memories for the different routes the race has taken over the years. VBT trip leader Marco Boat recalls helping one VBT guest achieve a lifelong dream of summiting one of the Giro d’Italia’s classic climbs on VBT’s Italy: Piedmont, Langhe & the Italian Riviera Guided Tour:
“One guest was in his 70s and had a passion for cycling,” recalls Marco. “While many travelers only know Tour de France, he knew Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Spain La Vuelta, and also the Classics—he knew every single competition and the names of the professional cyclists. When we arrived in the seaside community of San Lorenzo Al Mare, he was very happy to be there—especially because it’s near one of the most important competitions where all the best professional cyclists compete from Milan to San Remo. On the tour, we cycle on the bike path near San Remo but we don’t make the climb—called the poggio. This guest even knew the name of the climb before the finish line!”
“On the last day, we stayed in the town of La Cipressa—and the guest remembered the famous climb from the Giro d’Italia. That morning, we had a nice ride and afterwards he really wanted to climb La Cipressa. I was so happy to help make this guest’s dreams come true! While everyone else was relaxing at the hotel, we climbed La Cipressa together. When we got down the hill, he said to me, okay, now I can go home happy!”
Whether you’re a hardcore cycling fan or just someone who loves a good competition, the Giro d’Italia is an event that captures the imagination. With more than 10 different cycling vacations in Italy, VBT’s local Italian trip leaders are delighted to help make connections and introduce extra miles to help your cycling dreams come true.