Matterhorn

Early morning start to head off to Aosta for our final Giro ride…a shorter ride that was to include a long climb of around 28 km to arrive in Cervinia, very close to the Swiss border, and not that far from the French border either. 6C3B6993-0DB3-43B8-8588-49A5D5784CA3

Two of Italy Bike Tours great team getting ready…Stephano and Roberto.

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Riders getting ready….

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I can’t forget Marco, another Team Italy Bike Tour member. He does not ride, but organises!

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After a 10 km warm up we peel off to climb up Cervinia. Not as steep as Finestre (thank goodness) but a lot longer. 28 km of climbing is a long climb.

As is my preference with long climbs, I do it on my own…trying to maintain a consistent pace, cadence and wattage.

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Looking at the climbing graph you can see it is a solid climb, starting at just under 500 metres above sea level, heading to just under 2000 metres, with 4 slight reprieves on the upward journey….small, but welcomed.

The temperature was in the high twenties and I sweated, necessitating a quick water bottle fill at a small Italian village..walking into a bar asking for some tap water.

Again, there were thousands of cyclists on the roads, some in small groups including one team wearing blue that had a strong cyclist with their hands across the shoulders of the second cyclist helping push them up the hill.

Electric bikes…there were a few of those. One lady went last me a few times motor whirring, and then she would stop…

An Italian rider asked me where Clive was??  ( I was wearing Italy Bike Tour kit, and Clive is the IBT owner). I told him ‘somewhere between the bottom and top’….but not riding! He laughed. I saw this guy a few times as he pulled over and was chatting away to people.

The higher you climbed, the temperature dropped, but the spectator excitement rose as you were cheered, had horns blared at you, and one couple rang their cow bells. Yes, gimme more cow bells!

More alcohol was being consumed and I was offered a glass of wine…and a sausage….there is a direct correlation between noise levels and alcohol!

Passing through the 25, 20, 15, 10 km banners they finally went 9,8 and so on until the 2 km mark , where they then drop by 100 metre increments…nice feeling!

I had been suffering painful stomach cramps the last 5 km or so and was keen to get to the bathroom!!

Down the finishing shute I was astounded by the beauty of the area. Cervinia is a valley of mountains, with the Matterhorn looming in front.

I could not get to the finishing line due to it being blocked by security forces some 200 metres out so that was it. Stop the Garmin!  Time to soak up the atmosphere and find a bathroom!

Alas, I needed to pack my bike up first, ready for the flight to Rome….then…..bathroom and then this…

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Cervinia is an awesome village, skiing and rock climbing mecca. You could see people skiing high up.

After the race we wander around, finding gelato…and then the Wymper bar, dedicated to Wymper an English man who was the first to climb the Matterhorn.

Outside the skies were darkening, and then BANG! Thunder rolling around the valley and we all try to hotfoot it back to the sanctuary of our hotel, making it just before the rain bucketed down. Others were not so fortunate.

We stayed in Cervinia until about 10 pm, having a meal at the hotel just metres from the finishing line.

Late night as we arrived into Torino to prepare for a 4 am alarm to transfer to Rome and the Giro finale.

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