Il Giro d’Italia inspires road cycling adventure in the Italian Alps
If ever there’s a time to be inspired to pack your bike, fold the lycra and head to Europe for some amazing cycling in the Italian Alps it’s now, as Il Giro d’Italia begins in earnest.
Described as the toughest race in the world, Il Giro is also a celebration of Italy’s people, culture and terrain. There’s no better way than to embrace all that the country has to offer, than by clipping in and embarking on your own personal tour.
At once beautiful and brutal, the world’s elite cyclists traverse the diverse terrain that punctuates the beautiful countryside.
None is more audacious, breathtaking and exhilarating than the mountain section, which in 2023 reaches its toughest point during stage 19 on Friday, 26 May. Starting at Longarone (436m) and finishing at the northern alpine Rifugio Auronzo- (2304m), in the middle of the Dolomites.
Here we find four of Italy’s most challenging peaks - the Passo Campolongo, Passo Valparola, Passo Giau and Passo Tre Croci with a maximum gradient of 18%
Set against the backdrop of Il Giro, the Dolomite region provides the casual cyclist with not only a range of thrilling routes through uncrowded, well-surfaced roads, but an opportunity to follow the classic during one of its formative stages.
As with many of the most popular road cycling destinations in Italy, the Dolomites offer routes for cyclists of all abilities, with the winding roads, postcard views and luscious terrain providing plenty of stunning scenery.
Concerns about sharing the road with cars are not applicable in a region where many of the cycle routes are sparsely populated by the four-wheeled, motorised variety.
Italy itself is a very cycling-friendly nation. And then there’s the food. The Dolomite region, with its mixture of Austrian, Italian and native Ladino influence, offers a unique culinary experience to satisfy the appetite of the most committed cyclist.
Traditional Ladin fare such as bread dumplings and spinach, ricotta cheese and Sauerkraut pancakes are just some of the dishes available throughout this diverse cultural region.
The carnival atmosphere of Il Giro is not only a celebration of the endurance required to contest one of the three-week ‘classics’ but the cultural diversity of Italy itself.
Once you’ve witnessed the thrills and majestic countryside that make up Il Giro, there’s no better way to experience all it has to offer, than by jumping on a road bike yourself and seeing what all the fuss is about.