***Special travel feature from Peter Thomson, of Thomson Bike Tours***
Cycling fans around the world are ready to escape the off-season controversies and get back to the riveting action of the pro tour. We here at Thomson Bike Tours are particularly excited about kicking off our spring European campaign at the Giro d’Italia: a race that epitomizes the beauty and glory of the grand tours. Much like a great action movie or classic work of drama, the Giro boasts heroic feats of strength, a rich cast of characters, epic scenery, backstory, danger, victory, defeat and a full wardrobe of vibrant costumes.
This spring, Thomson Bike Tours presents a 3 part series of tours that celebrate the majesty, the history and the drama of Europe’s most famed races and routes.
Act 1: Fight for Pink: The 2013 Giro d’Italia
Pink pandemonium! Big and small towns alike all along the 3,405 kilometer Giro route will be decked out with pink signs, balloons, ribbons and more to welcome the charging peloton. The race will wind it’s way through Southern Italy, stop through the Florence region before the grand finale in the high mountains of Northern Italy. It is a breathtaking route that will showcase the finest points of the Italian landscape.
Our trip, Giro d’Italia: King of the Mountains, runs from May 19-26th. We will start our week warming up the Northern Italian mountain passes of the Alps and Dolomites. We’ll conquer Giro favorites like the Passo Stelvio, Passo Giau, Passo Gavia, the wicked Mortirolo and more before settling in to catch some extreme race action. The fully-supported trip will rack up 350 miles of riding with over 52,000ft. of climbing in addition to live viewing of the 2013 Giro. Thomson guests will enjoy prime vantage points and hospitality for the dramatic final two mountain stages!
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An international cast of cycling superstars will vie for grand tour glory. Last year’s race was nail-biting, as the maglia rosa was decided by 16 seconds on the final stage. The Giro features steeper climbs than the Tour de France, but don’t expect a pure climber to win – this year’s version has over 90k of time trials. The Giro organizers have launched a dynamic ad campaign, Fight for Pink, that captures the spirit of the competition. You will not want to miss this action!
Italy is the fashion capital of the world. Keeping to that tradition, race organizers brought in famed British fashion designer Paul Smith to create the 4 leaders jerseys for the 2013 tour. As always, pink is a la mode at the Giro and we expect to see Team Sky’s trademark black and blue dominating the front of the peloton.
The Cast of Characters
Italy / Astana
“The Shark” won the 2010 Vuelta, placed 3rd in Giro in 2010 and 3rd at last year’s Tour. This is his home turf, watch for his relentless attacks.
Italy / Cannondale
“Ivan the Terrible” is a fierce climber and one of the best stage racers in the peloton. He won the Giro in 2006 and 2010.
Canada / Garmin-Barracuda
Nicknamed “Weight of a Nation” Ryder became the first Canadian to win a grand tour with his sensational, hard fought 2012 victory.
Spain / Team Katusha
“El Purito” lost the maglia rosa on the final stage of last year’s race. With 2 recent podiums at the Vuelta, he is a sure contender.
Sir Bradley Wiggins
United Kingdom / Sky
The Giro is “Wiggo’s” main priority for 2013. He comes off a hot 2012, as the reigning king of the Tour de France and the Olympic Time Trial.
Fausto Coppi…Andy Hampsten…Marco Pantani…Eddy Merckx…These are the cycling icons that come to mind when reminiscing about the history of the Giro d’Italia. The rich imagery of the Giro recalls snowy, solo mountaintop finishes, the snakelike outline of the Passo Stelvio, Pantani, in pink, dancing on his pedals as he leaves the peloton in his dust on a climb, the ribbon-like gold trophy, and the hoards of dedicated fans lining the entire route.The competition is a vivid display of sportsmanship and national pride that has captured the hearts of the cycling world for over a century. It is truly a magical experience to witness it firsthand.
Last year, Thomson Bike Tours was there to see stage 20 on the Passo Stelvio as young Thomas De Gendt stunned the peloton and captured the Cimma Coppi (the prize awarded to the first rider over the highest point of the race) with a spectacular solo finish. De Gendt fittingly won the stage on a Bianchi, the same classic brand Fausto Coppi rode for his Passo Stelvio victory in 1953, the first year that this extreme mountain pass was incorporated into the Giro route. We are proud to announce our new partnership with Bianchi, which means you, too, can conquer the Passo Stelvio on a legendary Bianchi race bike.
“Giro 2012, mind blowing scenery, leg breaking climbs, belly aching laughs, Pro racers within your grasp… you couldn’t want for more on a cycle tour! Thanks Pete and TBT” Paul Fullwood – Australia
“This is our second trip with Peter Thomson, and we are totally hooked. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very hard work and we certainly trained hard for our “vacation,” but somehow the staff makes it all less painful by their wonderful attitudes and encouragement. How often can you really say you had another “trip of a lifetime?” Shannon Baird – VA, USA
“Another fantastic trip with TBT. Challenging riding, great company and superb organization made for a simply magic week. I couldn’t have asked for more. Looking forward to my trip with Peter and the team!” Michael Anderson – New York, USA
There are just a handful of spots left for the 2013 Thomson Bike Tours Giro d’Italia King of the Mountains trip. Reserve your spot today!
Look out for our upcoming stories, Act 2 and 3, featuring the history and grandeur of the Pyrenees and Dolomites.
Find out why our guests keep coming back to Thomson Bike Tours