A truce was definitely needed. Courageous they may well be, but the riders were beginning to ooze fatigue. The last stages have been tough, packed with extreme climbs. Motors have overheated. Batteries have died. Calf muscles have turned to wood. So no-one objected to the fact that Stage 15 has a 1-star difficulty rating and is just 52 easy-going kilometres long, with a mere 400 metres of elevation gain. Just what’s needed to unwind a little before the final, intense efforts of this Giro-E 2022.
The Pieve di Soligo – Treviso stage
From the poetry of local literary giant Andrea Zanzotto to the poetry of cycling. Today’s Giro-E stage overlaps the last 45 km of the Corsa Rosa route and starts out from Pieve di Soligo. After the muscle-busting efforts of the previous stages, the endless Grand Prix de la montagnes and the double-digit gradients, our e-heroes can at last enjoy some respite in the form of table-flat plains. A fine opportunity to study – even with just a thought, or a glance – the life of one of Italy’s most renowned 20th century poets, Andrea Zanzotto. Born in Pieve di Soligo, he would go on to establish his creative headquarters in the Cal Santa district.
‘Piéve’ also has much to offer in terms of nature and, as you might have guessed, cycling too. A section of the Munich-Venice cycle-pedestrian path runs through the hamlet of Barbisano; coming from Refrontolo, it leads to Collalto di Susegana. The area also has other awesome cycle paths, such as the Via dei Troi. What’s more, Piazza Caduti nei Lager has four brand new, free e-bike charging stations.
Today’s only hill is the Muro di Ca ‘del Poggio, about a third of the way into the stage. Like all such ‘walls’, it’s short (one kilometre) but sharp: a 12.3% average gradient, with a peak of 19%. But then it’s all downhill, literally, to lovely Treviso, with a glide through the city centre to take in its beauty.
Rider of the day – Mario Cipollini
Even the ‘Lion King’ has graced the Giro-E with his presence. Sheathed in an all-black kit, he jumped on one of his new ultralight Cipollini Flusso e-road bikes to ride the Levico Terme – Lavarone stage, one of the toughest in terms of both the route and the weather. However, nothing to bother a champion like Mario Cipollini, king of the sprinters in Italy and beyond. His long career (1989-2005) saw him win 189 races, including the World Championships in Zolder in 2002, the Milan-Sanremo and a staggering 42 stages of the Giro d’Italia.
“E-bikes are a whole new thing, a great way of getting new people into cycling as not everyone has the opportunity to train or be bike-fit. It’s fascinating new territory for cycling. We’ve worked hard to make our e-bike a bit ‘more bicycle’ than other brands and have focused on keeping the weight down. That meant heavy investment in research and technology to keep the very concept of the bicycle intact. It’s actually closely aligned with conventional bikes, so it’s a project we’re extremely proud of. I’ve tried it of course, but actually I’m still riding pure muscle-powered bikes. What I like about the Flusso is its lithe frame: compared to some of the other e-bikes, which look like small motorcycles, ours still looks very much like a bicycle. The climbs? Never to be taken lightly. Why is cycling so beautiful? Because it’s freedom!”.
Next update tomorrow, stage 16 of Giro-E, from Kobarid to Santuario di Castelmonte.
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