How we got there

Cyclist - - Italy -


Cy­clist flew to Turin with Bri­tish Air­ways. Ex­pect to pay be­tween £100-£200 re­turn, which is slightly pricier than other bud­get air­lines, but works out cheaper thanks to the fact that a bike bag can be in­cluded in the price. Easy­jet and Ryanair charge £70 and £120 re­spec­tively to carry a bike bag.


We stayed at the Lo Scoiat­tolo, other­wise known as the Pied­mont Bike Ho­tel, on the out­skirts of Turin. As the name sug­gests, the ho­tel is su­perbly set up for cy­cle tourists, with a large lock-up-cum­work­shop for stor­ing bikes, pro­fes­sional ride guides on hand, and top-end Pinarello bikes for hire. It’s one of a group of five cy­cle-friendly ho­tels through­out Italy, with oth­ers based near Verona, Rome, Bormio and Ce­se­n­atico. Pack­ages start from around £250 for three days. Go to pied­mont­bike­ho­ for more de­tails, and try bi­ci­ for info on rid­ing hol­i­days at the other ho­tels.


Our trip wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble with­out the help of Da­vide Cer­chio, bike man­ager for the Pied­mont Bike Ho­tel, and guide Diego Don­adae, who both helped nurse Cy­clist up the slopes of the Finestre. Thanks also to se­nior guide Ser­gio Chi­avazza, who drove the car for our pho­tog­ra­pher with saint-like pa­tience, and Gianni Marsaglia, owner of the Pied­mont Bike Ho­tel, for his ad­vice and hos­pi­tal­ity.

up th­ese slopes. In the 1999 Tour de France, the Texan was wear­ing yel­low af­ter a dom­i­nant dis­play in the time-trial, but ev­ery­one ex­pected him to lose it again when the race hit the hills. On Stage 9 the fin­ish was in Sestriere, and with about 7km of the fi­nal climb to go, Arm­strong broke from the bunch at a speed that was truly in­cred­i­ble, fly­ing up the hill to take the stage, putting him six min­utes clear and es­tab­lish­ing him­self as the new master of the sport.

Of course, we now know it was all a sham, but as I hun­ker on the drops for the fi­nal stretch to home, I can’t help feel­ing a slight thrill. Here I am, on the same roads as Arm­strong, do­ing the same speeds as Arm­strong. The only dif­fer­ence is… he was go­ing up the hill at the time. Pete Muir is edi­tor of Cy­clist and is proud to have rid­den many of the same roads as the pros, at sig­nif­i­cantly slower speeds

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