Every year on the first Sunday of October, the retro cycling race Eroica takes place in Tuscany. This historic cycling race for cycling enthusiasts, which was first organized in 1997 by some friends with a passion for pre-war cycling, now receives participants from all over the world. Booking in advance is therefore necessary, but is now no longer a guarantee to be admitted.
The course consists largely of white roads, the so-called “strade bianche” and the participants must use a steel vintage bicycle from before 1987 with gear levers on the frame and ordinary pedals with straps. If you really want to dress retro, you wear a wool cyclist pants and jersey.
Participants can choose from different distances:
- 46 km: route Mini Chianti (Passeggiata Valle del Chianti)
- 81 km: short route Gallo Nero (Percorso corto Gallo Nero)
- 106 km: route Val d’Arbia (Percorso Cento Val d’Arbia)
- 135 km: route Medium (Percorso Medio – Crete)
- 209 km: long route Eroica (Percorso Lungo)
Start and finish place is the small Chianti town Gaiole in Chianti and depending on the distance you cycle in the Chianti region, the Crete Senesi and the Val d’Orcia. The most beautiful of Tuscany, you drive between vineyards, olive trees, picturesque villages, grain fields, rock formations, forests and much more.
If you choose for the Full distance of 209km then it is best to go to bed early the day before because the start is given at 5 am before sunrise.
Along the road there are of course supplies where you can rest. Do not expect isotonic liquid sports drinks and sports nutrition because they only belong in modern cycling. Only meal soups, toasted bread with oil and sandwiches with ham, cheese and salami. As beverage you can choose between water and red wine!
The event takes place on Sunday but actually starts from Wednesday evening with all kinds of activities such as lectures about cycling heroes, visits to Chianti Classico wine cellars in the area, a permanent market of old bicycles, clothing and bicycle parts. On Saturday evening, a large meal is provided for all participants and interested parties.
Due to the overwhelming success of the Eroica is born the Eroica Primavera (Eroica van de lente) , ook wel Eroica Montalcino genoemd, die plaats heeft de eerste zondag van mei.
If you want to taste the atmosphere of the Eroica all year round, you can visit the permanent Eroica café
Place: Piazza Ricasoli in Gaiole in Chianti (google maps)
Official website Eroica: www.eroica.it