We have been fortunate having the Giro d’Italia cycle race pass near where we are living. One option was to walk about 2 km up the road to see them come past. We elected to instead take a 17 min train trip to see them coming in at the end of the stage in Viareggio (our beachside).
One of the treats with the 3 week cycle tours is the “caravan” that precedes the cyclist. They have the sponsors arriving providing entertainment and giving out free gifts. It was a nice distraction having the caravan arrive, but the gifts were a disappointment after last year when we think it was better.
It was a great plan going to watch the giro – except that Italy has been experiencing a lot of rain with damaging floods (north of us). We did end up spending 2 hours in the rain waiting for the cyclist to come in. One bonus was that we had a spot on the fence with 100m to go. We were able to get a ringside seat to the sprint finish. It is a case of blink and you miss it. They are so fast.
The following stage was starting near Viareggio and so we got the train and took a short 5km walk to watch the start on the race. It is amazing to see the number of vehicles involved in a major bike race. Again even though they were just cruising, they past by so quickly.
Here is a video of the start – a higher resolution version can be accessed here on youtube
We have now seen a start, a finish and last year we saw them mid stage. In July we are off to France where we will see 3 stages of the tour de France. Whilst the giro is big, we are expecting the tour to be on another scale – a lot bigger.