Alpe-Adria Giro 2016

I rode the Alpe-Adria Giro today. Officially it’s 165 km with 2400 m of climbing but maybe it’s a bit shorter with a little less climbing. It starts in Villach and heads across the Italian border to Tarvisio. It then takes a left over Passo del Predil into Slovenia. There’s an awesome descent down to Bovec before the route follows the Soča river back up the valley towards Trenta. There’s a steep climb over Vršič pass and then it’s down to Kransjka Gora before heading back on a cycle path to Tarvisio in Italy and then back to Villach in Austria. They closed the roads for the 2016 race, and we had a police escort as we left Villach and rode along the larger regional road heading to Italy. The first few km were neutralised.

I enjoyed the race. I couldn’t keep up with the first bunch and saw them riding off on the climb to the first pass. I really enjoyed the descent and made up a few places there. I chased a bunch with another guy into Bovec and then sat on all the way to Trenta. I expected everyone to ride away on the climb to Vršič and my legs to quietly give up entirely, and although most people rode away my legs didn’t entirely break. The climb to the pass is quite steep at around 11% for a lot of it and 14% at the end. I passed a few people who were suffering my normal fate and with the combination of much grunting and using one arm to assist my legs I made it to the top.

I put on my arm warmers, grabbed some Red Bull that was on offer then descended a little bit before the rain hit. After stopping to put on my jacket I continued very slowly down the pass trying not to slide out on the cobble stones on every corner. It was very cold now. I passed a few other cyclists who seemed to be not enjoying the descent but there weren’t so many people around now. I rode through Kranjska Gora alone and cycled a few km on the cycle path before a bunch caught up. The rain had eased a little and we powered along the cycle path with water spraying up from our tyres.

At Tarvisio we turned right into a head wind and our pace dropped but once we joined the road again and started heading down we were going a good pace and working well. We caught up to another bunch and unfortunately this reduced our speed. I worked at the front for a bit to try and speed things up again as I wanted to get in under 5.5 hours.

Near the finish I eased off a bit not wanting to put in too much effort and hung around further back in the bunch. At the 1 km mark a guy in red who I was sure would sprint at the finish looked back to see where I was and I moved back up the bunch. I wasn’t placed too badly on the last corner before the ascent up the cobble stones to the finish line but was a bit too far back. Sure enough Mr Red sprinted and a couple of others did too. I got past the others with some manoeuvring and was gaining on the red guy but he crossed the line a split second before me at which point my quads decided to cramp up.

A nice sprint, and a nice race. Very nice scenery and worth doing again. It’s a long way to drive though for the race.

Alpe Adria Giro “165km/2400m” 5:33:53.22

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