Giro d'Italia "Experience" Week 1 - Sicily & Amalfi Coast

  • Location

    Catania (Sicily) to Gran Sasso d'Italia (Apennines)

  • Duration

    8 days | 7 nights

  • Length

    60-100km daily

  • Climb

    500-2,000m daily

7 May 2018 - 14 May 2018

Sicily ... Mt Etna ... Pompeii ... Amalfi Coast ... the Apennine mountains ... some of the classic, beautiful and historic regions in southern Italy. Perfect for a cycle tour in spring, well before the summer crowds descend on the Mediterranean. Join us for 6 stages following the 101st Giro d'Italia, as close to the action as one can get.

"This experience of riding on the same course as the pros, and just a few hours ahead of them, is unique in the sporting world. The atmosphere is simply incredible." Keith Tuffley, Founder - Grand Tours Project.

We have designed this tour to allow you to enjoy the best 60-100km of each stage during the first week of the Giro, and at the same time enjoy watching the race itself, from the best possible vantage points. These will include three mountain finishes - Mt Etna in Sicily 6, Montgevergine on stage 18, and Gran Sasso d'Italia on stage 9.

We'll be riding some of the best cycle routes in Italy as the Giro winds its way around the island of Sicily, and then up through Calabria to finish at the highest mountain in the Apennines - the Gran Sasso d'Italia.

Each evening, we'll enjoy local cuisine and stay in a lovely hotel - for this tour, the quality of hotels, food and wine are as important as the cycling.

As an "Official Tour Operator", we will have our support vehicle with us the whole distance. Riding on the race course just a few hours before the pros makes this an unforgettable experience. Check out this story from one of our 2016 guests to be convinced!

If you haven't the time for a full week off, then you can join for just 3 stages in Sicily on our Getaway tour.

Total price: €3,500

  • Ride on the best 60-100km of 6 stages of the Giro, on the same day as the race, just hours ahead of the pros
  • Enjoy the beauty of Sicily, Amalfi Coast and the wild Apennine mountains
  • Watch the Giro starts fight for the pink jersey, from the best vantage points, including 3 mountain finishes
  • On every stage, enjoy the unique atmosphere of the Giro and the support of the public
  • On one of the stages, cycle across the finish line, stand on the winners podium, and watch the race from the luxury Giro VIP tent
  • Savour fantastic Italian food and wine, and relax in our hand-picked high quality hotels each evening
  • Expert planning and support from our team (guides, mechanics, drivers)
  • Maximum group size: 14 (with 2 guides)
  • Day 1 - 7 May

    Benvenuto in Sicily, Italia

    We'll greet you at Catania airport on the east coast of the beautiful island of Sicily, and transport you to our luxury 4* hotel in the countryside - the Borgo Pantano - close to the historic city of Syracuse. Our mechanic will help you unpack and build your bike, we'll hand out the team kit, and make final preparations before tomorrow's ride. After discussing the week's programme, the team will enjoy a relaxed stroll in the centre of the 2,700-year-old Syracuse, a UNESCO World Heritage site, birthplace of Archimedes, and one of the great cities in ancient Greece. We'll savour dinner in one of the excellent restaurants specialising in local Sicilian dishes. This assumes we can tear ourselves away from the beautiful pool at our spa hotel.

  • Day 2 - 8 May

    Palazzo Acreide to Caltagirone

    81km

    After a delicious breakfast at our hotel, we'll drive to our start point at Palazzo Acreide, 81km from the finish in Caltagirone. We'll then start our ride along the Giro course, through the magnificent, warm Sicilian countryside, encouraged on by the locals who have decorated their towns in pink to celebrate the race. It's a hilly route, so we'll be taking it easy, and our vans will be there to support us at all times. The finish town of Caltagirone is famous for its ancient pottery and terra-cotta, and for its beautiful Baroque architecture following the earthquake in 1693 which destroyed much of the city. Caltagirone is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Following a rest and refreshment, we'll wander the streets of Caltagirone before watching the race finish, the first stage on Italian soil. We'll then drive to our hotel in Agrigento, where we'll enjoy our well deserved dinner.

    View stage routes and profiles
  • Day 3 - 9 May

    Agrigento | Caltanissetta to Piazza Armerina

    71km

    We'll spend a relaxed morning exploring the ruins in the Valley of the Temples, one of the great historic sites in Sicily. These superbly preserved ancient Greek temples are simply magnificent, and the Valley is the largest archaeological site in the world, also UNESCO protected. After an early lunch, we'll then join the Giro race preparations and mix with some of the pros before they embark on stage 5, starting at 1:20pm. As they head west along the coast, we'll drive north-east to the start town of stage 6 - Caltanissetta - and then cycle the first 71km of tomorrow's stage. This takes us to another stunning historic site, the remains of a luxury Roman villa, the Villa Romana del Casale. We'll then drive to one of our favourite hotels in Sicily at the base of Mt Etna, Casa la Carrubbazza, for one of the best Italian meals you will ever have.

    View stage routes and profiles
  • Day 4 - 10 May

    Paterno to Mt Etna

    24-54km

    Today's goal is to climb Mt Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. Have you ever cycled up an active volcano before? Here's your chance. The Giro ascended Mt Etna in 2017, and it proved such a success that the organisers are repeating the experience ... but this time up the southern road. You have a choice of riding 30km from our hotel to the town of Paterno at the base of Etna, or if you prefer to save your energy we'll drive you there. Our ascent then starts. From Paterno, the 24km / 1,500m ascent of Etna is a truly unique experience, with solidified black lava flows a key feature towards the top. This is the first category 1 mountain of the 2018 Giro, so we'll be staying at the top to watch the pros as they ascend. We'll then drive to Catania port to catch an overnight ferry to Naples.

    View stage routes and profiles
  • Day 5 - 11 May

    Catania | Naples | Mt Vesuvius | Pompeii

    Rest day

    We'll enjoy a rest day while the pros battle it out on stage 7 on a flat day along the coast. Having arrived in Naples on our overnight ferry, we'll firstly enjoy a hearty breakfast and good coffee in Naples at one of our favourite cafes. For those feeling strong and active, you are welcome to cycle up a second volcano, Mt Vesuvius - not many people will have climbed two active volcanoes in two days! But today is designed to be a rest day before our final two stages of cycling. We'll visit the magnificent ruins of Pompeii, before heading to our seaside hotel for a late afternoon swim in the pool, a relaxing evening, and another fantastic Italian dinner.

    View stage routes and profiles
  • Day 6 - 12 May

    Amalfi Coast to Montevergine

    97km

    The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful and dramatic in all of Europe, with its picturesque towns, aqua blue water, and a road that clings onto the steep cliffs. Perfect for cycling. We'll be starting early to enjoy the quiet roads, after a good coffee in the truly magnificent town of Positano. After 42km of this enthralling route along the coast, we re-join the race route in Salerno, with 55km to go to the finish of stage 8. The final 42km involves two climbs, finishing at the 1,260m high Montevergine, and the crowds are sure to cheer us on to the top, with only a couple of hours ahead of the pros. We'll stay to watch the exciting race, as this will be only the second mountain finish of the Giro, and then drive to our next hotel, the lovely 4* Santacroce in Sulmona.

    View stage routes and profiles
  • Day 7 - 13 May

    Sulmona to Gran Sasso d'Italia

    80km

    Our final day of cycling, and another epic day. We ride out from our hotel to join the race route for its final 80km. The first 30km is a flat course through the heart of the magnificent and wild Apennine mountains, and we then face two category 1 climbs - the Calascio, followed by the highest mountain in the Apennines, the 2,135m Gran Sasso d'Italia - a total ascent for the day of 2,000m. Once again, the crowds will be huge and vocal, and we'll soak up this adulation to drive our legs to the finish line. Enjoy the moment, as it will be an experience and a feeling you won't want to forget. Relax, refresh, eat and drink, as we wait an hour or two for the pros to ascend the mountain and cross the line.

    View stage routes and profiles
  • Day 8 - 14 May

    Arrivederci

    After last night's celebratory dinner and this morning's sleep-in, breakfast, and good Italian coffee, we'll help you with packing your bike and transport you to Rome airport for your trip home. Or can we tempt you to stay longer for the second week? Or maybe return to Rome in two weeks for the final stage? In any event, you'll be taking home memories, achievements, new friendships and bragging rights that you will never forget.