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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My buddy and I are heading to the Giro. Very last minute, very fortunate to have things fall into place. We're flying to Geneva, renting a car, driving south and setting up camp in Pinerolo, Italy Wednesday. Next morning we're heading just outside of town to watch the last climb of the Muggio - Pinerolo stage (stage 18).

The following day we're in town watching riders depart Pinerolo for the ski resort of Risoul (stage 19). I read on the "chasing the tour" page/blogs that you get to experience the race more if you're at the departure point as opposed to the arrival because there's more access to riders and you can watch the teams warm up and then assemble at the start point.

A question for those that have done this before: Can I leave Pinerolo that morning and make it to the end point of that stage before the riders do? The specific towns are irrelevant, I'm just curious about road closures, traffic, etc.

How the heck do people line up at the passes (Coll d'agnello) if they're 10's of km's away from the nearest town?
Maybe leave Pinerolo that morning 5AM and set up at the Col/pass and just wait?? Any idea how many hours ahead of the stage the roads close?

Giro d'Italia 2016: Stage 19 Preview | Cyclingnews.com
 

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No idea how far ahead they close the roads.

Also, those people at the tops of those climbs often have been there for a day or two before the race passes by, camping out. Others the day of will walk or ride their bikes up to their chosen viewing place.

I've only followed one tour in my life, and nothing on the scale of the Giro. Back in 1990, I followed the second Tour de Trump, picking it up at the sprint line in Gettysburg, PA, and then hitting all but one of the remaining stages, four or five. Those legs were usually shorter, and so easier to leave one at the end and get to a good spot the next day.

It is true that the starts are the better place to hang, if you want to meet some riders. They'll be hanging at their team buses, warming up, causally riding around. Back then they didn't spend so much time on their trainers warming up, they would actually go out on the streets and ride. Maybe even get some team swag.

You can usually leap-frog stages by taking routes away from where the race is going. Say, the race is doing a rough loop to the west between the start and end points, you can make it from start to the end by taking roads to the east. Not sure how well that would work with big mountain passes with only one or two routes down though.A good map, and some time plotting course ahead of time is very handy. Also, a good map of the race course can be handy too, letting you know the exact spot of the start, finishes, or major climbs. The TDT organizers published a really good booklet outlining every day's stage, with detailed start and finish locations.

In 1990, I drove and then walked up to the Devil's Kitchen climb outside of New Paltz, NY, watched the race go by, then walked back down to my car, got on the interstate and made it to Albany in time to catch the finish. While the riders wee taking a looping course around through the countryside, the interstate was more of a straight shot to the finish.

One of the best weeks of my life though.
 

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9W9W....I cannot add any advise to your thread, but a request. Please take some pics and notes to post your experience! Sounds like a wonderful opportunity...now I am dreaming!
 

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We watched a stage a couple of weeks ago as it went through the town of Spello in Umbria. They closed the road about 10-15 minutes before they came through and the roads reopened almost immediately thereafter. In retrospect, we should have traveled to the start of that stage, but antipicipated closed roads, crowds, etc. Instead, it ended up being pretty low key at least from our vantage point. Umbria isn't terribly populated though so presumably it depends on the stage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
9W9W....I cannot add any advise to your thread, but a request. Please take some pics and notes to post your experience! Sounds like a wonderful opportunity...now I am dreaming!
I got back yesterday and plan to do just that when I get a chance. This was a fantastic bucket list type experience.
 

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Can't wait--I have been too busy to give the Giro any attention...

You've got me thinking this is a bucket list thing for me as well--
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Can't wait--I have been too busy to give the Giro any attention...

You've got me thinking this is a bucket list thing for me as well--
Alright, I will. You're the second person to ask and I figured the first one was just an anomaly. I'm going to pick up a replacement AC compressor tonight and won't be back until late, but my hope is to get them in the lounge by Friday.

Because this was apparently the unloved grand tour, access to riders/teams was unprecedented. 90% of the TdF excitement with very, very little crowds. When everyone isn't anxious about guarding their team/riders against nut jobs and mass crowds, everyone becomes a bit more relaxed, little more laid back and approachable. Exchanged words with Oleg Tinkoff about his broken foot, helped with Astana's feed bags, poked at the scarred chain stays of Nibali's crashed Tarmac. Even the room prices were extremely reasonable and vacant.
 

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Very informative feedback! Look forward to your pics!

I have done weeklong TDF spectating vacations. Once self guided with a car in 91, and once with an organized company in 04. 91 was great, and access to the riders was easy and relaxed. Free camping at the Queen stages provided by the country. But 2004 was a circus, and too big. The roads would close down as early as a day or more in advance. Traffic jams dozens of miles long. big time rush to stay ahead of the Tour convoys. Hotels 50 miles away. Riders kept secure and well away from specators (OK we did spectate right by the Postal bus one time, but now that I know what went on inside .. LOL)

I think if I do it again, it will be the Giro. Italy even more pretty than France, and the roads infinitely older, narrower and fun to cycle on. But need low gears for the crazy steepness of those old roads. Might even be good to just use the train in Italy, as it follows the coast and very regular (breakaway bike in a suitcase)
 
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