Stage 15 Tolmezzo to Sappada
Watching the Giro on TV in Australia is great,
But nothing gives you greater insight into the power and attraction of the Giro. To experience the excitement in an Italian town as it prepares to host a stage finish.
[By the way this is exactly what Euro Cycle Tours plan to do with their upcoming trips]
Our chalet accommodation in Sappada in the NE Dolomites gave us a front row seat to be part of the occasion.
Prior to the race arrival the town undergoes a major pink transformation with pink bikes, pink flowers, pink shop-fronts, pink balloons and local pink displays which highlight the area.
Then comes the party with temporary bars and eating places all designed to cater for the influx of both local people and visitors.
How many Italian men does it take to set up a bar and get the beers flowing? Plenty, along with lots of laughter and energetic talking.
The day before the Giro d’Italia road show begins to appear with huge trucks loaded with barriers, advertising, TV broadcasting equipment, presentation stages etc etc.
Suddenly with all the barriers up, advertising everywhere and the Finish Arch erected and wet paint on the road the town is ready..let the party begin at least 24 hours before the riders appear.
RACE DAY ARRIVES
After the obligatory espresso and continental breakfast, why not head out and meet the Caravana before too many roads get closed?
This amazing convoy certainly makes sure everyone knows that the riders are coming with very loud music….an interesting array of exotic Italian cars (odd Lamborghini, Alfa etc), trucks, vans all giving away Italian merchandise!
Chocolate lollies or energy drinks anyone?
As the spectator numbers grow in the later afternoon the excitement increases as the sound of several low flying helicopters signal the arrival of the first riders.
Suddenly Simon Yates, the Maglia Rosa is blasting up the streets to a well-deserved stage win. Impressive team effort after a massive day up Monte Zoncolan the day before. Chris Froome and the pursuing group is well back no doubt recovering from their efforts and saving themselves for the later mountain stages.
So back to the street party for the rest of evening as the last riders arrive, then the dismantling of the equipment begins and the team buses, police motorbikes and truck convoys move on to the next town.
Sappada slowly returns to normal and gets ready to host another Giro sometime in the near future.
Euro Cycle Tours would love to take you to be able to share such experiences.
Why not contact them now?
Photo's and words by Rossco.