This Saturday in Valkenburg Holland runs maybe the largest cyclo-sportif event associated with any European Classic – the Amstel Gold Cylcosportif. I was lucky enough to join the 18,000 plus throng, and it was quite a day.
As part of my self-appointed mission to discover and share with PEZ Fans the best riding destinations in Italy, I've parlayed 10 years of chasing the Giro d'Italia and its countless hotel nights into a 'reasonable' catalog of travel knowledge. Some hotels I look forward to visiting again, but I also look forward to new discoveries each May. The Hotel Lungomare in Cesenatico is one such hotel.
Our man Mark was introduced to the cobbles of Flanders last week by Velo Classic Tours, riding the roads of Wevelgem, Scheldeprijs and De Ronde. To finish him off he tackled the Hell of the North and those murderous tracks to Roubaix, but he still had time for rider watching at the sign-on in Compiégne.
As part of his continued Spring Classics trip with Velo Classic Tours our man Mark McGhee has been out riding the Belgian cobbles that included the Gent-Wevelgem parcours and its famous bergs whilst being followed around by pro photographers on motorbikes, been up close to the pros at the Scheldepris race and hung out in VIP comfort in between. Life's tough as Paris Roubaix approaches!
Fancy yourself a hard man in the truest sense - the 'Belgian' sense? Then riding the famous bergs is a must do. Among the countless cobbled strips that dissect the hills of the Tour of Flanders, a few have become famous as cycling paths of the Gods (or so we think). PEZ takes a ride up the best, and nastiest of them all.
PEZ's Nick O’Brien was live and in-color at the 96th la Primavera in 2005. Now over 100 years old, the race has changed with modern times, but as Nick discovered while riding the final “capi” that make it famous, the corsa is as tough and exciting as ever. Here's a worthy look back as we prep for this weekend's Primavera...
On an early March day this year Robert Panzera headed out into the spectacular countryside of San Diego County, California for a recon of the famous Dirty Devil Ultra Century Ride. This unique ride takes in 28 miles of packed dirt roads, amazing scenery, 11,000 feet of ascent (3,350 m) and makes for a perfect - and yet challenging ride.
The best GC riders in the world will be hitting the picturesque and very hilly roads of Central Italy this Saturday to take on the 226km, Stage 4 of the Tirreno-Adriatico but before they do our Italian photographer Ale checked the stage out for himself. What he found was some magic scenery, some simply superb riding but also one very difficult day for the riders. Here's his tale.
Our literary editor, Leslie Reissner, doesn't just read books, he also rides his bike as much as he can. In honour of the first cobbled Classics last week, Leslie has relived his ride on the Rik van Steenbergen Classic in deepest Belgium. Bring on Flanders and Roubaix!
This Saturday the 9th Strade Bianche heads off from San Gimignano to cross the 'White Roads' before finishing in the historic city of Siena. Our man in Italy, Alessandro Federico (and his bike), covered the last 20 kilometers to take in the final climbs and those dirt roads in his Tuscan homeland.
The South of France's Languedoc region is a beautiful place to visit with its spectacular scenery, history, food and wine but it's also one of the best places in the world to ride a bike. Small roads through tiny, historic villages, vineyards, forests and a good collection of medium mountains, make it as amazing as the tourist guides promised as PEZ's Chris Selden recently found out.
Paris, France - the city of love, the Eiffel Tower, le Louvre and... traffic jams. Could Paris really be a destination for a PEZ 'Top Ride'? Well, yes as just 35km South-West of the capital is the gorgeous Vallée de Chevreuse where the cows, sheep and forest replace the hustle and bustle of the big city making it an ideal playground for cyclists.
For the very first time, the 2013 Tour de France took on the mythical Alpe d'Huez twice in one day by descending and then ascending the little known Col de Sarenne. In June of that year, just before the Dauphiné tested out the roads and much needed roadworks were completed, PEZ's man in France, Chris Selden cycled the route on a simply epic 150km and 4800m elevation day.
The world of cycling is truly diverse, encompassing sports, transportation, technology and social history. Set at a human scale, many of its stories and artifacts have been lost over the last century but much too has been saved.
FINAL DAY TO ENTER: This could be the best week of your life - superb riding around Lago di Garda in Italy's famous lakes district, local guides who know the best roads, amazing Italian food & drink, and a luxurious stay at a newly renovated family-run boutique hotel - ENTER HERE TO WIN a WEEK FOR 2 CYCLING IN ITALY.
Stage 20 of the 2015 Giro d'Italia serves up the 2148m high Colle della Finestre as its final battle ground. I logged one of my all time Top Rides here in 2005 as Il Falco swooped to a 28 second GC victory from Gilberto Simoni. Here's how the day played out...
We usually think of Europe when it comes to cyclist-friendly people and cultures, a completely different experience than what we get at home in North America. But Guadeloupe is much closer to home, and as we recently discovered, is also home to a people who absolutely love cyclists, and cycling.
Roadside Report: The big Basque one day classic in San Sebastian will battle it out this Saturday, so this gives us a great excuse to re-read Peter Easton’s Basque experience from last year. Cycling and food go hand in race mitt, especially in the Province of Gipuzcoa, Peter immersed himself in the Basque culture for 2½ unforgettable weeks of riding, food and great times.
The 2014 Tour de France stage 14 parcours to the summit finish at Risoul promises to be a cracker taking in the Col du Lautaret and Col d'Izoard before the final 13km throw down to the day's 3rd hors category climb. PEZ saddled up for a closer look...
With the likes of Carlos Betancur, Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Uran, Colombia has seen a real resurgence in the pro peloton in the last few years. PEZ's Nate King went to Medellin, Colombia to get some first hand experience of where these guys train - and no surprises - it's far from flat!