Giro d'Italia

2011 Giro d’Italia, rest day: a Gregg Bleakney gallery

Photographer Gregg Bleakney piggybacks on a leg of a Thomson Bike Tours trip to the Giro d'Italia.

As the Giro d’Italia carved its way through the Dolomites for this weekend’s 14th and 15th stages, a mass pilgrimage of tens of thousands of enthusiasts cyclists followed in its wake—keen on pedaling some of our planets most iconic terrain.

Because the Giro has a smaller footprint and lighter security protocol than the Tour de France, it’s surprisingly easy for “common riders” to hop on their own steeds and hammer the same roads and passes ridden by grand-tour pros. Though the Giro’s route is closed to car traffic on the morning before the stage begins, organizers not only allow but encourage all cyclists to experience the race on their own two wheels.

Italians seem to book hotels and ride Giro stages independently while foreigners, eager to switchback their way to the heavens, tend to book full-service trips with outfitters. During the Giro’s rest day in the Dolomites, I piggybacked on a stage of Thomson Bike Tours’ 10-day Giro d”Italia mountain pass trip.

If heaven ain’t cracked up to what it’s supposed to be, give me a bike, bottomless gelato, and a spin in the Dolos.