Cyclist Tour Italy With the 100th Giro d'Italia

Samantha Janazzo (April 27, 2017)
Starting in Sardinia and ending in Milan, this year's Giro d'Italia will bring more challenges than every before. Competitors are up against the the rocky terrain of Mount Etna, the sprinting flats of Tuscany, the valleys of the Dolomites, and the thin altitude of the Alps. Who will take home the first place prize this year? Stay tuned! The races kick off May 5th and end May 28th.

Il Giro d’Italia or The Tour of Italy is one of the most popular and historic bicycle racing tours in the world. Known for cycling through the entire country of Italy (and sometimes passing through bordering territories) in twenty-one stages, this 3,500 kilometer tour takes one month of complete and is comprised of 22 international official teams from May 5th to May 28, with only two resting days.

The first Grand Tour began in 1909, Italian cyclist Luigi Ganna left his mark as the first prizewinner. In fact, the top two competitors with the most wins are Italian: Alfredo Binda and Fausto Coppi; five wins each. 2017 hails as the 100th competition- during the First and Second World Wars the races were cancelled.

For the third time in history, the race will commence in Sardinia- infamous for its rough up and down hilly terrain and accompanied by waterside views. Racers will speed 575km from Alghero to Olbia, to Tortolì, to Cagliari surpassing spectacles of picturesque beaches, islands plentiful of historic antiquities and mythology, castles, islands, and Roman vestiges.

By May 9 the cyclists take Sicily starting from the small city of Cefalu at the rocky base of Mount Etna for another 150km before transferring to the boot to start on Calabria’s terrain, May 11. The next stage will take the bikers through Puglia for the first Adriatic sightings bringing the cyclists through famous towns and villages of the Italian coast.

The next stage measures 152 kilometers and travels through the Molise town Montenero di Bisaccia. Some argue this is the most physically demanding stage because it brings the bikers to the highest part of Abruzzo. Not only will cyclists be expected to peak the heights of this treacherous feat, they will surpass caves, deep valleys, and harsh canyons. Things begin to flatten out as the course takes the heart of Umbria.

Tuscany and Emilia Romagna welcome the competitors on May 17 where they will cycle through the Florentine hills and bathhouses that date back to Ancient Rome. While the best mountaineers would have excelled through the previous stages in southern Italy, Tuscany is for the sprinters with its wide, paved, flat roads.

Next is Reggio to Tortona, May 19, the most stubborn sector for its 167 km, pedaling through Via Emilia; the unpredictable terrain has tricked bikers for years. May 22 leads the Alpine stage, 222 km and one serious altitude change. It starts from Rovetta, a small hamlet of the Val Seriana, passing Edolo, climbs Stelvio up ends at Bormio.

The most anticipated stop is next, beginning in Moena, the section of the Dolomites between the valley of Fassa and Fiemme, leading to Ortisei in the heart of Val Gardena after 137 kilometers. The bikers will be climbing the most famous passes: Pordoi, Gardena, and Pontives; backed by the UNESCO protected mountain range.

On May 26 the path continues through the mountains. For the first time in the history of the Giro d’Italia the bikers will take on San Candido in Piancavallo, a large and sunny plateau north of Pordenone, among breathtaking bends of the Dolomite summits. May 27 anticipates a 190km stretch, starting from Pordenone with its elegant Venetian old town, and arriving on Via Asiago by way of the slopes of the Treviso Mountains and Mount Grappa. In fact, Asiago stands in the green basin in the heart of the Venetian mountains surrounded by peaks that reach a mile and a halfs high.

The Italian Tour ends on a path through the historic park of Monza in Milan, passing Villa Reale, and arriving in Milan's city center, Piazza Duomo. Each year the Peloton improves, cyclists train tirelessly to survive the Alps, Dolomites, narrow city passageways, and expansive terrains to take home the title as Grand prix of the Giro d’Italia.  

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