Fabio Aru was born on Sardinia. He won plenty of races on the island before leaving for mainland Italy, aged just 18, to try his luck amid the ranks of the pro peloton where, you may have noticed, he’s been doing OK. If you visit Sardinia and ride in his tyre marks, it won’t take long to work out how his formative years here turned him into such a formidable climber. More than 80% of the island is mountainous and hilly, with many peaks bothering the sky at over 1,000m. The prospect of conquering the 1,127metre-high Monte Albo (or Monte Arbu, as the locals call it) by bike is what entices many two-wheeled tourists to the island, although it’s hardly the only draw. Exploring the verdant Flumendosa Valley with its sapphire-blue lakes and dramatic volcanic landscape on the Island’s western side is also a magical way to spend a weekend and certainly preferable to creosoting a fence or wandering around Ikea. Otherwise, head to the island’s west coast, we say – here you’ll encounter empty roads, limestone ridges and deep gorges as well as wonders such as the white cliff towers of Pan di Zucchero and the Sinis wetlands, where you’ll encounter colonies of pink flamingoes. The climate in the late part of the year also makes this a great option with temperatures still averaging 22°C/72°F in September and 19°C/66°F in October.
FLIGHT TIME: 2hrs 30 PRICE: Flights from approx £85 return to Cagliari MORE INFO: sardiniacycling.com