Lake Como – the playground of George Clooney, Sir Richard Branson and even Madonna is something to experience. While it is home to the insanely wealthy, it is also home to the last of the “Five Monuments” one day classics, the Giro di Lombardia. It is a region where many professional cyclists base themselves, with lots of great riding in a more Mediterranean climate. The AIS and Orica GreenEdge have a European base close by so keep an eye out and you just may be passing a professional cyclist going up the hill.
Speaking of Madonna, one of the Giro di Lombardia’s key climbs takes the riders past La Madonna del Ghisallo – the patron saint of cyclists (pictured above). Legend has it that in medieval times, a local count was being attacked by bandits when he saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary, and running towards this vision saved him. Thus, the Madonna del Ghisallo became the patroness of travelers. A local priest, Father Ermelindo Vigano, proposed that Madonna del Ghisallo be declared the patroness of cyclists. This was confirmed by Pope Pius XII. Nowadays the shrine of Madonna del Ghisallo contains a small cycling museum with photos and artifacts from the sport. Bikes, artefacts and memoriabillia from greats such as Eddy Merckx and Fausto Coppi & Fabio Casertelli adorn the walls of the small chapel and museum. We will be heading their and climbing the 10.6km from the town of Bellagio. Averaging just 5.2% this is a great climb to a historic monument that everyone remembers.
Now its your turn
Our 2016 Giro tourists are conquering these climbs in the next couple of days. Your turn is next year on our 2017 Giro Tour. Our 2017 Giro tour is released in October 2016 but don’t wait to register your interest. Come into the shop to let us know, call us on 97235164 or send us an email on [email protected]