Following the success of the retro cycling event Eroica the art city of Arezzo now also has its own version. During the first weekend of June (June 3-5) the beautiful city was Arezzo was the place to be for lovers of the old bicycle. In preparation for the same Eroica, last weekend of September, we already tasted this Ardita…
The route of the retro tour is 40 km long with start and end point in Arezzo. At first we thought that this would be easy. But even trained cycling tourists should get used to cycling with a racing bike that is at least 25 years old.
In addition, the course turned out to be not too bad with the climb of the Alpe di Poti. This tough slope is over 8 kilometers long with a height difference of 600 meters and peaks of up to 14%. But especially the unpaved road, the so-called strade bianche, makes it sometimes difficult on a racing bike.
On Sunday 5 June, a colorful group of cycling enthusiasts gathered together to participate at the event. A somewhat different audience than on a "normal" ride for cycling tourists - certain cyclists, with woolen cycling clothes, just seemed to be escaped from the 1960s - but all had quite sporty legs.
The start at 9 am was attended by former cyclists Gilberto "Gibo" Simoni (two-time Giro winner, 2001 and 2003) and Daniele Bennati. This Italian sprint bomb, still active at Tinkoff, was born in Arezzo.
Many of the 100 participants of the retro tour had themselves photographed with their cycling heroes. Under the guidance of two old support vehicles, the ride was started, at a low speed during the first kilometers.
Good to get used to the steel frame, the pedals with straps and the (too large) gears on the frame ... Meanwhile, driving out of Arezzo you got a beautiful view of the beautiful and cozy cultural city.
After half an hour the cycling caravan came to a stop on a small gravel road. The participants were introduced to an old-fashioned chrono ride. Everyone had to register via their jersey number and only one cyclist at a time could leave for a time trial to the top of the Alpe di Poti.
This steep hill (972 meters) is 8 km long with a dislevel of 600 meters and "offers" a maximum gradient of 14%. In addition, most of this climb is on white roads. This year, the climb was the referee on the 8th stage of the Giro d’Italia with arrival in Arezzo. Who did this Ardita knows why!
The time of every participant was recorded manually, upon arrival on the Alpe, the race officials had to call his jersey number. This was followed by a well-deserved stop with supplies, of course also an experience of a far away cycling.
The sandwiches dipped in wine and sugar were the nicest and most delicious, real bearded cyclists even drunk a few glasses of wine. Meanwhile, Gilberto Simoni willingly let himself be photographed among cycling enthusiasts (such as we).
Fortunately, the descent was on a paved road, in a beautiful wooded area. After that followed some big pinpricks and even a bit of cyclocross. In short, an excellent warming up for the real thing, the Eroica ...
After the tour, a nice warm pasta dish was waiting for everyone as well as a mix of salami and ham. Of course, a nice glass of red wine could not be missed, because we deserved it.
More information about the course and the full program can be found on the site www.bicinfiera.it.