From the beaches of Venice to the historic ruins of Rome the Giro d’Italia is winding its way through Italy. Commonly known as “The Giro” the Giro d’Italia is Italy’s answer to France’s Tour de France.
This year the tour has the added excitement of having Lance Armstrong who is competing after a 4 year layoff spent drinking beer – his words, not mine. He also has to cope with the aftermath of recent shoulder surgery, the result of taking a spill in a race this past spring.
Adding emotion to the race is Danilo Di Luca from the Abruzzo region of Italy. Abruzzo is home to L’Aquila, the city damaged in the April 6 earthquake. Di Lucca who was poised to come in second before being overtaken by Stefano Garzelli in the last seconds was cheered wildly by Italian fans who in turned booed Garzelli. Di Lucca the clear fan favorite finished third in the stage.
While the Tour de France has its yellow jersey The Giro has the “Maglia Rosa”, the pink jersey. You would think it would be easy to pick out a pink jersey in a group of male cyclists but given the bright outfits cyclists wear it is harder than you would think it would be.
In one of those unexpected experiences that happen when you travel, I was lucky enough to be in Bellagio several years ago when The Giro was passing nearby. Bellagio is a small town and having it overtaken by cyclists was quite an experience. Though the race did not go right through Bellagio our hotel had a contingent of about 15 Swedish cyclists and handlers staying there. Packing up and moving the bicycles in trucks that then had to navigate the narrow mountain roads to get to the starting lines was impressive. Seeing the quantity of food the athletes ate was just as impressive.
Even if you are not a cycling fan it is fun to watch the tour as it winds through the towns and cities of Italy.