Tag Archives: giro d’italia

Giro d’Splott?

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Not the Giro – TdF 2016 but I like the photo and for now it is my stock, all purpose, ‘Grand Tour’ picture

So, the Welsh Government is in discussions to bring the Giro (presumably the start?) to Wales.

On the face of it, a fairly ludicrous idea but surely no more ludicrous than starting the Giro in Belfast in 2014, or the TdF in Yorkshire in the same year – and probably more sensible than the Giro’s start in Israel next year.

Clearly, money talks (or to quote Bob Dylan “money doesn’t talk, it swears”) but if things like this spread the word about cycling in general, and the Grand Tours in particular, I’m all in favour of them.

The Yorkshire start for the 2014 TdF was a great success and has spawned the Tour de Yorkshire as part of what I hope will be a glorious legacy. I went up there for a few days to watch the TdF (and do some riding) with friends and loved it – I would also certainly go to watch stages of the Giro in Wales. Having been to university in Cardiff in the 1970s I have a great affection for the place – and it’s improved hugely since those days when the gloriously named area of Splott still had the Dowlais Steelworks.

One note of caution – when I did the first Velothon Wales tacks had been thrown along a couple of stretches of the route, presumably by locals protesting about the road being closed. Let’s hope they are more accepting of a little disruption in the name of one of the world’s major road races.

I think I’ve viewed the TdF on 14 occasions since 2003 and would not lightly pass up any opportunity to see it, or any other significant race, again. However, from my experience you should try to watch on the biggest hill possible, preferably towards the end of a stage, in order to see the riders going past a bit slower and spread over a longer time.

Alternatively, a time trial offers the prospect of a longer period of entertainment, although perhaps you need to be a bit of an enthusiast to enjoy a succession of lone riders (with the possibility of a catch or two to stir the blood). I remember watching a particularly good TdF time trial around Lake Annecy in 2009 – we were drinking beer sitting outside an elevated roadside café overlooking the course. Now that’s proper spectating.