The lesser known but spectacular mountain range in the heart of Italy.
The road less travelled, a tale of two seas. This route from the Tyrolean sea to the Adriatic traverses the Northern and Central Apennine mountains that form the backbone of Italy. Passing across roads used in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tirreno-Adriatico, this 2014 edition of the Randonnee Apennini holds special significance as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of Marco Pantani. We’ll celebrate the talents of Il Pirata as we ride on his training roads.
Lucca » Ascoli Piceno
Dates: Sunday, June 8 to Sunday, June 15, 2014
Key Climbs: San Pelligrino in Alpe, Monte Carpegna, Monte Nerone, Monte Catria
Total Distance: 815km
Total Elevation: 16,585m
Full price of trip (excluding airfare): £3000 | US$4800 | €3600
Custom Pinarello Dogma K race bikes may be rented for this tour – £250 | US$400 | €300
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Arrival Day – Sunday June 8th, 2014
Our hotel is located within a stones throw of the city walls of historic Lucca. Now home to many pro cyclists Lucca is a vibrant town and a superb departure location for this randonnee.
We will have a short orientation ride in the afternoon, before which our mechanic will fit your bicycle. Dinner will be in a hand-picked restaurant in Lucca.
sViale G.Giusti n.25
tel. +39 0583.954106/7/8
Day 1 – Lucca to Poretta Terme
Stats: 118km, 2500m
Main Climbs: San Pelligrino in Alpe
The randonnee departs the city walls of Lucca, and following a few small bumps reaches the first test of the week – San Pelligrino in Alpe. This climb has featured in epic battles in the Giro d’Italia, beginning the theme for the week, riding in the tyre tracks of history. Beware the steep sections of the climb, with the key stats given at 12.6km with an average gradient of 8.6% topping out at 1524m elevation. In the 2000 edition of the Giro d’Italia, Francesco Casagrande took the stage and claimed the Magila Rosa. He’d keep the mountains jersey all the way to the finish in Milan, but took second on GC.
Our hotel for the night is located in Porretta Terme, a thermal spa resort.
Day 2 – Poretta Terme to Stia
Stats: 125km, 2250m
Main Climbs: Passo della Futa, Valico Croce a Mori
Today we dive into Tuscany, famed for its’ olive groves and cipressa trees. Featuring some fine white gravel roads, which helped to provide some of the images from the 2010 Giro d’itala when Cadel Evans won the 7th stage from Carrara to Montalcino.
The 215km stage was considered a transfer stage, but when Nibali and a teammate crashed on the first sector of dirt roads, Cunego, Evans and Vinokourov made a move which saw them sprint it out for the win. Evans took the stage but Vino reassumed the pink jersey.
Day 3- Stia to Urbino
Stats: 152km, 3560m
Main Climbs: Valico di Spino, Monte Carpegna
It is today that we really begin our pilgrimage in honour of Marco Pantani. Monte Carpegna is a gem of a climb, one that Pantani regularly trained on, testing himself to guage fitness, not far from his home and birthplace in Cesenatico on the Adriatic coast.
2014 marks the 10th anniversary since the death of Il Pirata at a hotel in Rimini on the Adriatic coast of Italy. Widely recognised as one of the best climbers ever to race a bicycle, winning both the Giro and the Tour de France in the same year.
From his hometown of Cesenatico, Pantani regularly rode into the hills around Monte Carpegna. The 2014 Giro d’Italia will honour Pantani with a stage that crosses Carpegna – Monte Carpegna, with a 22% max grade, was Marco Pantani’s favourite training climb“It’s on Carpegna that I’ve prepared for all my victories – Carpegna is all I need”.
We reach the World Heritage Site of Urbino for the night, where the 15th Century Palazzo Ducale houses one of the most important collections of Renaissance artwork.
Day 4 – Urbino to Gubbio
Stats: 124km, 2675m
Main Climbs: Monte Petrano, Monte Nerone
The Queen Stage of this Randonnee, takes in the climbs of Monte Petrano and Monte Nerone, two thirds of Stage 16, 2009 (we ride the third climb, Monte Catria, tomorrow). Riders described Stage 16 as one of the toughest stages of a Grand Tour in recent times.
Leaving Urbino as the riders of the 2012 Giro d’Italia (stage 6), we head instead to ride two monstrous mountains. This stage had seen Bradley Wiggins (then riding for Garmin-Slipstream) and Tom Danielson, to be dropped even before reach Monte Nerone. Yaroslav Popovych spent much of the day in the break and then attacking solo. He was caught by stage winner, Carlos Sastre inside the last 3km, thankfully beating Danilo Di Luca and Denis Menchov to the line.
We stay in Gubbio tonight, in Umbria an ancient town occupied since the bronze age and known for its Gothic architecture.
Day 5 – Gubbio to Castelraimondo
Stats: 123km, 1850m
Main Climbs: Monte Catria
Following on from the Queen stage we ride Monte Catria. This penultimate stage may not have the stats to match yesterdays, but do not underestimate the Monte Catria. Reaching 1415m with views across the Central Apennines.
At Castelraimondo we stay at Borgo Lanciano with its famed restaurant “I Due Angeli” continuing a gastronomic tour across the Appenines, we are served traditional Marche cuisine with a wine list from a cellar that stocks some of the finest Italian producers.
Day 6 – Castelraimondo to Ascoli
Stats: 140km, 3300m
Main Climbs: Piano Grande
The final day of our journey takes us to the Adriatic coast and the town of Ascoli Piceno. The route will take you via the stunning Piano Grande, and through the Parco Nazionale dei Monte Sibillini, an area famed for its outstanding natural beauty and for Umbria’s famous lentils, Lenticchie di Castellucio.
We arrive into Ascoli Piceno, the capital of the Marche region, with its highlight of the Piazza del Popolo and around 50 towers. Piceno is a direct reference to the ancient tribe of Piceni, who dwelled in the region until they were conquered by the Romans in the 2nd century BC.
We’ll relax in Ascoli and celebrate our achievements with a glass (or two!) of Rosso Piceno Superiore. It is said that even Hannibal refreshed his troops with wine of the Marche region.