Photo: On the bridge over the Metauro in Fosssombrone with the Cappuccini summit in the background
“That’s enough”. What a relief. Jan had managed to feed Olli enough food to keep him happy (as opposed to Olli’s “That’s not enough” at a control on the 6+6 Ajò two weeks previously). It was the night before Stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia, 207km from Terni to Fossombrone (17km from our house), 13th May 2023.
Olli, my Finnish friend who I’d met on Alpi4000 last year and again two weeks ago on the 6+6 Ajò in Sardinia had a plan for the day. We’d ride to Fossombrone then follow the route of the Giro up the short steep climb of the Cappucini, then the hard climb to Cesane, then climb the Cappuccini again to watch the Giro with my Italian club, La Centinarolese. I suggested we ride a little further backwards along the route to take in the Furlo Gorge.
Olli agreed it was worth the extra km to ride through the stunning gorge.
After a coffee, and of course a pastry for Olli, we headed back along the course towards the first climb of Cappucini. It’s only 1.5km long but at an average of 10% it’s a Cat 3 climb. If you take the short route through the hairpin bends then the gradients are in the 30%+ bracket. At the top we were greeted by my club mates who set up shop the night before with gazebos, a TV, BBQ and Rodolfo as the DJ. I was tempted to stop right there and join the party but after a quick snack we had Cesane to climb and then back up again to party HQ.
“You climb like an Italian” Olli told me. Armed with a power meter he confirmed we were climbing much faster than he would normally do. The reason was that even though they were a long way away we could feel the Giro caravan closing in on us. We had to complete the climb and get back across the bridge in Fossombrone before they closed the road for the Giro to climb Cappucini for the first time. Olli reckoned it would take us an hour to climb. Even though it was 20% in places we got to the top of the Cat 2 climb in 39 minutes. Our reward was the descent of the Alce Nero along new tarmac back to Fossombrone.
Back in Fossombrone we stopped for a very nice lunch before climbing back up to the Pansèrs (the nick name of my club).
If you are a football fan you can’t have a knock about on the Wembley pitch before the FA Cup Final. If you are a road cycling fan you can ride the course then watch the professionals ride the same roads you were on hours before.
We joined the party just below the summit to watch Ben Healey of Ireland ride past us twice on his own on his way to win the stage.
What a great atmosphere.
A great day out thanks to Olli and the Pansèrs.