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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to be in the Dolomites after a wedding on Mon, Tues and Weds May 22,23,24. I am interested in watching a moutaintop finish stage of the Giro. I have never watched a bike race in Europe before and would appreciate some tips. What will be the best stage to catch and what are some of the logistics in having a good time? Where should I try to spend the night?

Thanks
Jamie
 

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duh...
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I don't know the stage details this year- you could easily look that up online- but can give some tips as I've been to the Giro. If you want to catch the race along the way, you might be disappointed... roads are blocked a couple of hrs before (causing traffic jams), then the caravan comes by, tv helicopters and race vehicles, racers (maybe there will be a break), more race vehicles, and they are gone very quickly. Grab a Gazzetta dello Sport (pink newspaper) for the estimated arrival times at various checkpoints (and check the radio/tv for current avg speed)- these are amazingly accurate. For a mtn top finish, you'll need to get there early as lots of people show up. But don't get your heart set on seeing the actual finish line... there will be bleachers set up for VIPs and it will be blocked off. I think it was from about 500m when I went. You can hop the barrier and walk around on the actual course- or even ride it if you have a bike- before they close it though. If the race is not coming near you, don't worry it will be on tv and radio, at least the finish (generally around 5p) and you could watch in a local bar. If you're up near Como you can also check out Madonna del Ghisallo. You prob won't be able to stay near the start as hotels get filled with teams and Giro staff. But if you're lucky there might be some banquet to crash... met Francesco Moser one year. You might also want to check out a start, with all the team vehicles, riders, etc. milling around (TTs are best since they go off at different times, warm up on trainers, and team staff are there for a longer period of time compared to a mass start). The finish in Milan is not bad either, as they typically do several laps up and down the Corso Sempione, which makes for good viewing. There is also the Vigorelli velodrome nearby (Beatles, Masi).
 

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FatTireFred said:
The finish in Milan is not bad either, as they typically do several laps up and down the Corso Sempione, which makes for good viewing. There is also the Vigorelli velodrome nearby (Beatles, Masi).
Can you give more detail on Milan? My wife and I will be there for the finish, and have no idea what to expect, except what you've stated here. Is it a bit of a carnival atmosphere with vendors, etc., or will it just be mobs of people and whatever shops/businesses are already there? How close can we expect to get to the podium? How likely is it we'll be able to see any of our heroes (go Jens Voigt!) after the race? We'll be in Milan a day or two in advance, so we can do more research when we arrive, but any tips or description you can provide would be great.
 

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Milan is great... city center is very walkable. Gotta see the galleria and spin your heel on the testicles of taurus the bull for luck. Lots of shops, esp designer stuff. Lots crap being sold from carts too though. Duomo is right nearby and if you like opera, the La Scala opera house and museum is right there as well, and you can usually get SRO tickets cheaps. You can see the actual Last Supper, the painting, but advance tickets prob needed (can get online). Most churchs have amazing art, just walk on in if no services going. From the Galleria you can walk to the traditional finish, but I do not know if that is where/how the race finishes this year. If so and provided nothing has changed, you can get *real* close as they go by... and you can usually search out the team bus/van/trucks afterwards. The podium then was just a smallish trailer, but again that may have changed since I went. It was a bit of a carnival atmosphere, but not too bad. If it's Sunday shops will be closed. Not too many vendors, but I bet there are alot more now with the Giro's growing popularity. Prob won't be a total mob scene like you see on tv at the Tour finish, but pro cycling is popular in Italy and you'll see kids, families, grandmas out watching. They present amazingly soon after the race finishes too, so be ready, and you'll need to be tall (or climb up on something) to see what's going on. BTW, I didn't think the Milan bike shops were all that, even the Detto Pietro shop.
 

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meathead said:
bring a tent and hike up and stay in one of the tent villages that pop up along the course. *note* tent villages may turn into large frat party type gatherings at any time without warning.

That wasn't my experience on the Alpe di Pampeago, but that's not to say it doesn't ever occur at the Giro. There will be plenty of fan clubs of individual riders, RVs (usually with tv), etc. The wait will seem excruciating, but you'll know when it's about to happen when the helicopters show up. If it's a particularly grueling climb many riders in the grupetto will actually be asking for pushes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Has anyone been up the Plan de Corones?

The finish of Stage 17 will be there with 5.5k on dirt!! (I love attacks on the dirt). There is a section that is 24 % grade. I think I'd like to see the riders struggle on this. Is the Plan de Corones accessible? Will I be able to hike up there in the morning to watch the race finish?

Thanks again for all the info.
Jamie
 
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