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Andi, our racer

On the road on the giro d’italia
Andi with racing bike

At the beginning of April this year I received a call from the ENIT office in Vienna – the Italian National Tourist Board. My long time friend Monika Kraus was on the other end with an initially quite unusual question: “Andi, would you like to attend the Giro d’Italia this year?”. Incredulous, I reminded Monika that although EUROBIKE is a cycle tour operator for individual cycle tours, there are plenty of cosiness and a lot of landscape, food and cultural experiences and my condition can be described as average at best. She laughed and explained the invitation was not for the ‘real Giro’ but for the Giro-E. This is a first-time event in which the original stages (partially shortened) are raced by 10 amateur teams made up of 5 participants each and cycling on electric road bikes. “Yes, then I can go e-bike riding!” I said and waited anxiously to find out for which stages I would hop onto the saddle…

Andi with racing bike

The Giro d’Italia is fixed – it’s serious

After a few weeks, the organisers made the decision – stages 17 and 18 would await me. 110 kilometres on the first, and 80 kilometres on the second day. “Well, I can do that easily” was my first thought and I didn’t worry about it. After all, I often cycle two stages in one day during the development of cycle tours, so everything is easy. It was only when I got a medical certificate about my physical condition that I started to have doubts about whether this would be such a leisurely cycle tour as those I know from EUROBIKE. Slightly nervous, I took a glimpse at the stage descriptions.

Stage 17: From Valdobbiadene to San Martino di Castrozza. 110km – everything as advertised. BUT not advertised was an incline of over 200 metres!

Stage 18: From Predazzo to Monte Avena. Again, of course, the mileage was 80 kilometres as I thought. But what worried me was about 3100 vertical metres, or thereabouts!

My dear ENIT friends chose the last two mountain sections of the Giro d’Italia for me. There was no time to train. No matter, I thought, everything will be ok. And if not, then I’ll get into the support vehicle 😉

Passo Rolla on the Giro d'Italia

Full of anticipation and a little nervous, I made my way to the Giro d’Italia, sorry the Giro-E! What awaited me there exceeded my wildest expectations! I received my cycling jersey – I was officially part of the ENIT team! After that, my racing machine was waiting for  me – a fantastic E-road bike from Pinarello! Next we went to the official start photobooth and made our entries in the Giro book! We were treated like pros. And indeed, about 2 hours before the real Giro d’Italia we set off on the original route. The stages were decorated, thousands of spectators applauded us, a good hundred people consisting of police, marshals and assistance ensured our safety and free roads. I was impressed! And the smile on my face only disappeared when I had to say ‘Ciao’ to my teammates.

Group photo Giro d'Italia

Oh yes…there was something else?

The Giro-E starts - 190 kilometres and over 5000 meters elevation gain in the saddle! But I did it! It was hard. And despite the fantastic bike and the support of the electric motor, the two days have pushed my physical limits. At each stage finish, however, the attentive ENIT team immediately put me back together.  And after a great beer and a chat with our pretty hostesses, the smile returned again! 😊

Andi on the Giro d'Italia

I would like to sincerely thank the ENIT team for this fantastic experience.  I will always remember my two Giro stages in the footsteps of – or rather before! – Richard Carapaz or Vicenzo Nibali. THANKS A LOT!

Your Andi

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