2015 Topbike ‘Cnut’ Giro Tour
May 22 – June 1 Venice to Milano, as at Oct 14.
P/up: Venice airport, 11.00am, Friday May 22
Drop off: Eurohotel Milano (TBC), 10.00am, Monday June 2 (Via Giuseppe Sirtori, 24 20129 Milano)
With Topbike's Cnut Giro Tour, we catch the race 4/5 times in its final 10 days of this grand tour as it twists its way around the top of Italy, through the Dolomites in Veneto, Lombardia and Piedmonte, before arriving in Milano for the final stage. We’ll also have 5/6 days off from the race to ride the famous Sella Ronda loop, the Passo Falzarego loop, Passo Tonale and the passes of Stelvio, Gavia, Mortirolo and Finestre.
Friday May 22, Stage 13, Montecchio Maggiore - Jesolo, 153 km
We'll meet at Venice airport, 11.00am, before transferring in the Topbike air conditioned mini-bus to view today’s stage pass by at roughly the halfway point (Santa Maria di Sala). Here we’ll have a bit of lunch before transporting up to Arabba in the Dolomites (220k, 4h). We’ll stop to watch the stage finish on the Tele in a bar en route. After arrival we can sort out our bikes and take a small ride out in our environs. Tonight, and for the following 2 nights, we’re located in a 4 star hotel, amongst the towering rocks of the Dolomites, where we’ll dine inhouse for our welcome dinner. (ride 20k, med)
Saturday May 23, Stage 14 Treviso - Valdobbiadene (Individual TT), 59.2 km
Today’s plan is to ride the magnificent 52k ‘Sella Ronda’ loop, over the four passes of Pordoi, Sella, Gardena and Campolongo. We’ll stop for coffee on top of Sella, and later enjoy a picnic lunch en route. We’ll be back at Arabba in time to watch today’s Giro TT stage live on the TV in the afternoon. Dinner once more in our 4 star digs tonight. (ride <55k hard, <2000m ascent)
Sunday May 24, Stage 15 Marostica - Madonna Di Campiglio, 165 km
Today we’ll ride another magnificent 50k loop, around ‘Passo Falzarego’ (to the east of Arabba). We’ll head out of town, back over Campolongo, descend through Corvara, turning right at La Villa. Here commences the climb to Passo Valparola, which peaks at 2192m (just a few metres under that of Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciusko). From Valporola we continue onto Falzarego, where we’ll once again turn right and head down towards Caprile, turning right to head home to Arabba. We’ll return to watch the day’s Giro stage on TV. Lunch will be en route. (ride >50k hard, >1500m ascent)
Starting from La Villa, the Passo Valparola ascent is 13.9 km long. Over this distance, you ascend 802 metres. The average percentage thus is 5.8 %.
Monday, May 25: rest day
It’s bump out time, so we’ll pack up and head out of town in the Topbike mini-buses, towards Ponte di Legno at the base of Passo Gavia. We’ll aim to ride into town over the passes of Stelvio and Gavia, fingers crossed that they both will be open, this early in the season. Failing this, we’ll ride in over Passo Tonale. We’re staying in an agriturismo here, for three nights, where almost all the complete menu is produced on site. Not to mention the varieties of home made grappa, up for tasting.
Tuesday May 26, Stage 16 Pinzolo - Aprica, 175 km
Today’s stage, after climbing Passo Tonale, passes through our town of Ponte di Legno, But wait, there’s more. After it leaves us, it continues on and passes over the most famous climb in Italian cycling, the Mortirolo, the top of which is 30k from us. Today we have many different opportunities. We can ride to the top of the climb of Mortirolo, (30k), ride down to Edolo (20k) where the race will pass twice, or Aprica (35k) where the race will finish, after passing through 70k earlier. Alternately you could take it easy, doing very little and still see the race pass through our town of Ponte di Legno. Might be one to call on the day.
The now infamous Lance Armstrong used to train on Mortirolo in ‘mufti’, back in his heyday.
Wednesday May 27, Stage 17 Aprica - Lugano, 136 km
Today we’ll quietly be making our own way around the famous passes of our neighbourhood. We’ll climb the usual race side of Gavia, and the steep (race) side of Mortirolo, used yesterday, in one fell swoop of 110k. Well, we’ll swoop the down hills, and as long as we’re upright, we’ll meander our way over the passes, returning to our accommodation, above Ponte di Legno. Good hot chocolates (and good grappa) to garner recovery, when gasping on top of Gavia, guaranteed. There is another option available, to ride over to Aprica, to view today’s stage start. (115k, 3500m asc)
Thursday May 28, Stage 18 Melide - Verbania, 172 km
We’re on the move again, transporting out of Ponte di Legno, and out of the Dolomites. We’re heading west into Piedmonte, and will be staying this side of Torino. We’ll break the 4h drive up, and either ride into ‘SS da Po’ or take a ride in its environs after arriving/check in. We’ll also aim to catch the final part of today’s stage live on the tele. (ride <100k with small climbs)
Friday May 29, Stage 19 Gravellona Toce - Cervinia, 236 km
Today the race is away off to the north of us, but we’re headed south. We’ll ride 90k, winding our way into the rolling hills of the Barolo region. We won’t head for Barolo itself, but rather Serralunga d’Alba, and it’s ‘Hotel Italia’, which Topbike has frequented many times over the past decade. Here we’ll enjoy a very traditional ‘Langhe’ lunch, on the terrace, overlooking the vines of the region. As we’ll be transporting home, this’ll be a good opportunity to sample some local wines. NB: The ‘house red’ here is a ‘Barolo’, so just keep an eye on the prices. (ride >90k of constantly rolling hills)
Saturday May 30, Stage 20 Saint-Vincent - Sestriere, 196 km
The Giro organisers love to add a little interest to their race, and always throw in something that the TdF doesn’t. So on the penultimate day, there is a dirt climb over the Col of Finestre. They’ve used it before on two occasions. Unfortunately on the last visit, the immaculate preparation of the road carried out under the instruction of the race organisers had removed much of the challenge. It was pristine, hard packed dirt, smooth and fast. If you talk to any of the old roadies who raced in the era before cars where everywhere, they’ll tell you dirt is faster than bitumen. This is where we’ll be heading for our afternoon’s entertainment.
The Colle delle Finestre (the Col of Windows) connects Valle di Susa with Valle del Chisone. The road is normally open from the first of June till September 30. The maximum grade is 14% and along its 18,6 km, there are no less than 55 hairpins. With 7,9 to go, the asphalt on the road to the top of the Colle delle Finestre disappears. This is in fact the military part of the road, which was "paved" in order to mount military equipment. Apparently, as a result of its popularity thanks to its appearance in the Giro d'Italia in 2005, the road is even in worse conditions after loads of summer traffic. In 2011, the Colle delle Finestre appeared for the second time in the Giro under better road circumstances.
The Colle delle Finestre is situated in Piemonte and belongs to the Alps . Starting from Susa, the Colle delle Finestre ascent is 18.62 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1694 metres. The average percentage thus is 9.1 %.
Sunday May 31, Stage 21 Turin - Milan, 185 km
No great rush this morning, for after breakfast it’s just a 2h drive into Milano. We’ll get there in time to check in, and walk over to view the course. The Giro finishes with a street race, 7 x 6.4km laps of the historic centre, and will make a spectacular finale to the 2015 edition. We’ll have our final Giro dinner close to our Hotel tonight.
Monday – June 1, Tour finish – Milano – 11.00am
After breakfast, packing up bikes and luggage, we’ll be on the road. Unless other plans are made, our final farewells will be at the Eurohotel, Milano. We’ll ensure that everyone meets their next transfers or accommodation smoothly.
If we do everything planned, there'll have been:
4/5 Days of race viewing, incorporating 1 stage start, 1 stage finish, 1 GPM, and 2 roadside views. We'll also have ridden about 5-600k, climbed many mountains, including the passes of Campolongo, Sella, Gardena, Pordoi, Falzarego, Valparola, Gavia, Mortirolo, Stelvio and Finestre.
Included in your tour is all transport from Venice to Milano for you, your bike and one bag, accommodation, all breakfasts and all dinners. You will also receive a full 5 piece Topbike kit. Also included are your experienced and knowledgeable guides, maps, training tips, coaching (if required) and mechanical back-up for your bike. Please also see our recommended list of things to bring.
NB: The itinerary above is to be used as a guide only, as Topbike Tours are well known for making use of all (and creating some extra) opportunities, expect that variations from the above can happen at any time. Please note all distances are approximate and subject to change.