Italy, passion, tradition and history ... all in one place. The Giro, the most spectacular race of all.

Uri Martins

Feb / 8 / 2020

To me, the Giro means something much bigger and more special than just the most beautiful and grandiose race in Italy. To me, the Giro is about the connection between Italy and the dream of being a cyclist.

Above: Pinerolo, Italy - Giro d´Italia 2019 - Stage 12 -

Ever since I was a child, just starting to ride, I heard stories about Italy and its great cycling tradition. Then, a couple of years later, as I started competing in races in Mexico, I dared to dream of being part of an Italian team, living and racing in a country that is considered the cradle of professional cycling.

In 2011, I made the next step of riding professionally in the America Continent. After competing in international races with some of the strongest cyclists in the world and obtaining good results, I had the great fortune of receiving an offer to compete in Italy with the Amore e Vita team. By 2012, I had moved to Tuscany, Italy, where I pursued that long-awaited dream, to be a professional cyclist riding in a Grand Tour.

Above: Winston Salem, USA - Race Criterium

Literally everything I did in that period was focused on cycling. Race, eat, sleep, train, motivate and repeat. I met great cyclists and coaches, and the world of cycling races was undoubtedly a dream come true. My team competed in many races on the UCI calendar, including some of the most important races for Italy, such as Coppi e Bartali, Settimana Lombarda, and the Giro del Trentino, the last being the preamble to the Giro d´Italia.

I spent 6 years as a professional seeking to ride the Giro d’Italia or a Grand Tour, and when the time came, I decided to hang up the bike knowing that had given it my best shot and that I had enjoyed being a professional cyclist during that chapter of my life.

Above: Giro del Trentino 2017 , Italy

Once retired as a professional, life has brought me back to cycling and to the world of racing in a rather peculiar way, through Grand Tours Project. I got their invitation to be part of the team and guide guests at the 2018 Giro d´Italia! Life was telling me that I had a lot to contribute to cycling. I simply accepted and went into an adventure that I could not even imagine.

In May 2018, I saw for the first time the presentation of the Giro on the Esplanade of Jerusalem in Israel. There I was, standing right in front of the “Senza Fine Trophy”, watching how a Grand Tour begins and thought of friends and riders I knew, who were there, representing their teams. And like all the people present, I applauded to the heroes who were about to start a huge challenge, since I knew how hard they had worked to be there. I was so thankful to be able to experience that unique moment. The irony, I always dreamed of being on a Grand Tour, and finally here I was, about to ride the same roads as the pro´s only hours before them.

Above: Eilat, Israel - Stage 3 Giro d´Italia 2018

Cycling the "Grande Partenza" in Israel, not only allowed me to realize my dream of being on a Grand Tour, but also allowed me to discover a new country, full of surprises, new colours, traditions, food and flavours. Once back in Italy and continuing with the successive stages, we visited Sicily, southern Italy, the Alps and so many other incredible places I remember passing through many small towns, in the middle of a beautiful landscape, full of ornaments, bicycles and all kinds of items in pink. Whole families were there to cheer on the riders, and it felt like we were part of some gigantic party. That, and the great coffee and brioche at every rest stop, is one of the things that makes Italy so special to me.

Above: Monte Zoncolan, Italy - Stage 14 - Giro d´Italia 2018

Climbing a mythical mountain, just two hours before the pro´s, is something that everyone must experience. The energy that people give you when they applaud and cheer you on, and as you read all the messages of encouragement written on the pavement, is something that is undoubtedly unique. And the pinnacle of all this is when you go through the finish line with your arms raised, and then get on the podium to for a special photo opportunity not available to others. After that, the already legendary food of Italy in the VIP Zone tastes even better, as a reward for all the hours on the bike.

Above: Monte Zoncolan, Italy - Stage 14 - Giro d´Italia 2018

And to finish the epic day, watching that exciting moment of the race, when the pro´s battle towards the finish line, watching the ecstasy of the winner crossing the finish line with the crowds roaring and thumping the barriers, and also to see the heart breaking disappointment of those pros following in the wake of the winner. What a day!

Riding the Giro is certainly one for the bucket list. From my heart, I can say that if you are passionate about cycling, it is the best way to get to know a wonderful country, while experiencing priceless moments that will last a lifetime.

Above: Pinerolo to Ceresole Reale - Stage 13 - Giro d´Italia 2018 -