Enrico Pizzorni has spent the Winter pouring over maps and routes sorting out the zillions of details related to designing our Follow the Giro d'Italia tour departing in May. In this interview Enrico reminisces about The Grand Italian Race and how he experienced this important annual event growing up in a small Northern Italian village. Read on as he shares many enlightening and heart-warming Giro stories!
Born and raised in Acqui Terme in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, Ciclismo Classico's Top Leader and Guide Manager Enrico Pizzorni has been leading Ciclismo trips since 1999 and has led every Ciclismo tour at least once. With a passion for maps and itineraries, he’s also one of Ciclismo’s top tour research and development specialist, spending his winters dreaming up new trip ideas and scouting out the destinations. This winter Enrico has been working very hard to design a unique tour and route to Follow the Giro d'Italia. Since this is the 100th anniversary of the beloved Giro race, we anticipate lots of great energy, ceremony, and fanfare--alla italiana--throughout the race.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Enrico and ask a few key questions about our upcoming May Follow the Giro trip. Curious minds want to know what it’s like to actually Follow the Giro and what to expect on trip of this nature.
How has the experience been of organizing a trip of this "cycling" nature?
It's important to know that since my first year with Ciclismo Classico, almost 20 ago, this has always been my "dream" Ciclismo trip, But then, as a rookie and new guide, I had no chance to be sent to "Follow the Giro." Fortunately (or not) a senior guide had a little problem and could not be there, so I was asked to join as a substitute guide---and then never left. What great luck!
What are some key highlights or features that make the Ciclismo Classico Follow the Giro a unique experience? What are some of the special events or moments guests will have on this trip?
The Stages that are scheduled for this year's 2017 Giro allow for a Grand Traverse--West to East--that touches all the most important cycling destinations: the lower Piedmont and its rollinghills, the Lake district, the majestic Stelvio Pass (a must!), the lovely cities of Merano and Bolzano and the Dolomites as an unforgettable gran finale. All the accommodations that we will use are typical Ciclismo Classico's hotels. We'll be travelling in well known territory. We know all of these Northern regions very well. This is our strength. In addition our guides know the history---of Fausto Coppi and and the great cyclists of the 50s/60s---as we pass through these areas. Climbing the famous Stelvio is an amazing experience in itself. I believe that at the end of this trip---passing through four major regions (Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino, Alto Adige) plus 20 or more provinces--this trip offers ultimate satisfaction. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment at the end; on the final day?
Given this is such a historical event for Italians--as well a people around the world--how do think modern technology (tv, computers, live streaming etc) has changed the overall experience?
The reasons why so many italians, like me, love the Giro d'Italia are above all very sentimental; I was raised in the 70s, by parents and grandparents that had witnessed the Golden Era of Cycling: when Coppi and Bartali were well known by every single Italian citizen. Every May, we gathered in theaters, parish churches or communist party club houses to watch just a few minutes of Giro and news around the event. For us it was a sort of Proust Madeleine. By late April/May we began to anticipate another Giro in the same way we anticpated the first Spring flowers, swallows and fresh cherries!
Technology has certainly changed how we are waiting; our expectations. Desire is naturally changed by technology. This also applies to watching sport events. When you are there you actually feel part of the race. It’s like buying a CD of Bruce Springstein Live. Not the same as actually being there!
What is it like to actually be there, in person, watching a Giro d'Italia stage?
Every person that goes to a Giro stage experiences an atmosphere of an amazing but "formulized" event---almost like a religious ceremony. Free happiness for all! Similar to a patron saint day's parade in a mountain village you've never seen or heard of, the roads are filled with cyclists of all ages, shapes, sizes and all colors--from amateur bicycle racers to those who took their bike out of the storage for the event. Families with kids are line the roadside, preparing their picnics. Groups of friends light their coals for a BBQ; local alpinists (wearing the alpine hat) offer a free drink to whoever wants to toast wtih them. As oppsosed to other sports, cycling fans co-mingle and mix together to support their favorite riders, supporting and encouraging all the riders---without difference of nationality or team. The experience is absolutely beautiful. And, with all that is going on in the world today---this is an important and amazing dose of optimism!
Read more about Bianchi's tough guys in an earlier post and our meet-up with Team LottoNL-Jumbo.
Click below to read more about our Follow the Giro tour May 18-26, 2017.