I love everything about cycling! I love reading about cycling; I love riding my bicycle; I love watching professional riders compete in the Giro D’Italia.
When the dates and route map for the Giro D'Italia 2020 were published, Victoursbike was invited by ENIT (Ente Nazionale del Turismo- National Tourist Board) in Canada, to participate in the Giro E 2020, which took place in October.
What is the Giro E you may wonder? The Italian Giro E is a cycling event for electric bikes, with seven teams of six riders. The riders race on the same route as the professional Giro D’Italia and even on the same day! Each team has a former pro rider as the captain, with six interchangeable riders. The teams race each other and every day, there are two team challenges of regularity, with the winner determined by the average race speed over a specific section. The sprint on the flying finish line is done by the deputy captains and for the final sprint, the captains race to the stage victory. The winning teams receive a different classification jersey, just like the professional Giro.
And with an electric racing bike, riding becomes a unique and engaging experience. An electric racing bike is different from the traditional muscle racing bike and even though you still have to push with your legs, the e bike assists in the propulsion of the pedals. With that assistance, your performance will be improved to a higher level. My maximum performance with a muscle bike is 17/18 km h, but with the electric racing bike I reached 24/25km h with the same effort. It is important to learn how to best use the bike, pushing yourself when you can, saving the battery for the most challenging stretches and learning how to modulate the push to get the proper assistance from the engine.
An e racing bike is a great alternative for those who are not able to train as much as they wish, but who still want to be able to ride with more trained riders. It is a great way to see Italy’s countryside in a sustainable way, for the whole family. The electric bike allows tourists to cycle round, even those who would never think of cycling with a traditional muscle bike.
Thanks to ENIT and Victours International, I raced in the first eight stages of the Giro E 2020, from Caltanisetta to Roccaraso. Every day was exhilarating. After leaving the hotel in the morning, we entered the reserved area with our bikes. We were introduced on stage, took pictures with children, and answered supporter’s questions. Experiencing this whirlwind of emotions left me breathless.
When I saw the Endless Cup close to the stage, the same one that all the Giro winners have raised to the sky, I realized that although this felt like a beautiful dream, it was actually reality. When the race started, the race director’s car, technical staff, police motorbikes, photographers, and the parade of vans and teams were all there.
Finally, we were on the starting line! Dream became reality! I cycled for eight days on roads which soon afterwards would be crossed by the Rosa race, I passed through decorated cities with crowds cheering, and I saw children shouting greetings. When we had passed the cities, the silence of the wonderful countryside welcomed me, Sicily with its colours and scents; Calabria with its rugged and pristine mountains; Basilicata with its protected gullies; Puglia with its endless wind beaten plains! I will never forget the roughness of the Gargano that we climbed on a sunny October day with unforgettable light and colours, or Abruzzo where we arrived in Roccaraso after a stage, soaked by rain and freezing cold.
All the stages end at the Giro finish line. Riding those the last kilometres in corridors of coloured barriers, lined with cheering people, and passing under the finish line between the flashes of photographers was an incredible emotional experience!
Then, we await the arrival of the Pros in the hospitality area of the Giro E, together with all the other teams. As soon as the car closing the race passes by, the gates open and we are on our way to the next hotel, in preparation for the next transfer to the next wonderful stage.
The captain of our team was Max Lelli, a former pro who participated in 14 Tours de France, a wonderful person and sportsman, a true leader. The team riders change every 4/5 days. Although the event is not competitive, the team captains are all former pros, and in the final sprints they make the sparks fly.
Working together as a team, pushing each other, waiting and helping riders in difficulty, and changing the batteries on the bikes as in a Formula One wheel change made this experience even more memorable. In my eight-day adventure, the ENIT team was always first in the ranking with the Viola jersey worn by Captain Max Lelli.
I appreciated meeting the ENIT staff; the executive director Bastianelli and his collaborators Francesca, Sara, Francesca and Francesco, and the journalists, including Martin Foszczynski, online editor of Bergwelten magazine, a periodical about experiencing nature in an active way (trekking, cycling, climbing); Michaela Bučková from Prague, great cyclist and chief editor of the Kondice magazine which deals with sport, wellness and fitness; Bertrand Houillon, from Paris, Communication Manager of the French Cycling Federation who combines his passion and private life and loves travelling by bike and Alberta Schiatti, a creative advertising designer in love with cycling in all its forms who travels the world on pedals and reports about it on Viagginbici. We were a team in pure ENIT style, with a passion for Italy, for cycling and for sustainable tourism!
It was a wonderful experience! Thank you to ENIT and Victours International.
When you are ready, we would be honoured to design your unique Italian cycling adventure!
For more information and amazing Bike Tours, visit us here: www.victoursbike.com