Cecina in Tuscany to Riccione in Emilia Romagne
Wednesday 6th to Sunday 10th June 2018
Here at last is the write-up of this amazing 4 day Ride which takes in many iconic sites of Northern Italy as it passes through the heart of Tuscany, over the Apennines and into Emilia Romagna and by San Marino. The route is 210 miles long with an elevation gain of 16,000ft, an average of 52 miles per day and elevation gain of 4,000ft per day. A worthy and satisfying challenge. You will reach a height on the pass over the Apennines of 3,400 ft unless you optionally tackle Mount Carpegna on cycle day 3 at 4,500ft.
Tuesday 5th June 2018 Travel to Pisa and Cecina
You arrive on Tuesday evening flying into Pisa and transferring to Cecina to the South, just under 40 miles in 45 minutes. Those arriving late will have a snack, drink and then to bed.
Wednesday 6th June 2018 Cecina to San Gimignano: 51 miles (35mls for 6th June arrivals) , 4200ft (3400ft) elevation gain
We start cycling by the sea at Marina di Cecina. Once out of the town, with 10 miles along country lanes we climb gently to 850 ft and reach Guardistallo. We drop back down to the river and reach the main road at Ponteginori (16 mls). This is the location where the group arriving today from Pisa will arrive around 12.15pm to join the Ride. A mile further, we turn L and follow the picturesque road to Montecatini di Cecina at 1280ft, a climb of 1000ft (22mls). A further drop back to 600 ft brings us to another 1000 ft climb to the splendid hill city of Volterra at 1580ft (32.5mls) for lunch and a city tour. We now descend through Montebradini (34mls) to the river at just 400ft (38mls) and yet another and final 1000ft climb through Vicarello brings us to Castagno at 1500ft (46mls). Then it’s a slight drop for the grand view of San Gimignano which we reach after 51 glorious miles and 4 climbs. Here we will stay night at the 4* La Cappuccini and savour the unusual sights of the town in the evening.
Thursday 7th June 2018 San Gimignano to Laterina: 53 mls 3200ft elevation gain
This is a delightful day of cycling, not too far and with moderate hills. It’s also one of striking contrasts. We leave San Gimignano on a gentle downhill into the valley of Elsa and soon enter Poggibonsi (7mls). This is an industrial town which we will quickly cycle through. On the other side of course we start to climb again into Chianti Country. Of course Chianti is the quintessential countryside of Tuscany and this route is up to the pretty town of Castellina (18mls) at 1800ft. Here you will be rewarded with a welcome coffee stop. Then it’s onwards through Chianti with its vineyards, villages and sweeping countryside giving ever changing views with one further hill climb to Radda in Chianti – a delightful village deep Chianti country. Soon after we shall have a restaurant lunch in Badia Colibuone. After lunch we leave Chianti Country for an easy ride towards the Arno Valley which we cross close to Montevarchi. We follow the valley along country lanes to the Toscana Verde Hotel in Laterina.
Friday 8th June 2018 Laterina to Villagrande 68 mls 6800 ft elevation gain (with Montana Carpegna excursion 73 mls and 7900ft elevation gain)
Another day of contrasts dominated by the traverse of The Apennines. The day commences continuing along the Arno Valley bypassing the major town of Arezzo. Soon we commence climbing across the front range of the Apennines up to around 2000ft. We then descend into the Tevere Valley to the town of Sansepolcro. Now starts the first main climb of the day and will cross the continental divide into Emilia
Romagna at over 3000ft. The scenery is quite magnificent with views of huge forests to the horizon. We will have a picnic lunch in the forest half way up the climb. After lunch we complete the climb and descend before the 2nd major climb of the day up to Carpegna. This is the remotest part of the day, cycling along narrow mountain roads with very little traffic. We will reach the pass at close to 3,500ft with Montana Carpegna straight in front of us. The town of Carpegna lies some 1000ft below. For those still with energy there is an excursion to the summit of Montana Carpegna at 4,500ft from which on a clear day much of the Apennines and the Adriatic Coast and San Marino can clearly be seen. The finale gentle climb, is once again on minor mountain roads, to Villagrande (7 mls) at 3000ft – one of the highest villages in the Apennines.
Saturday 9th June 2018 Carpegna to Riccione 44mls and 2800 ft elevation gain
On the finale day we leave the Apennines with distant views of imposing San Leo to the north, with a stunning descent, taking us to San Leo (6 mls) which is an historic town perched on top of a rocky outcrop. This is the ideal early morning coffee stop. From San Leo, we descend to below 1000ft with ever closing views of San Marino, perched on a massive outcrop which dwarfs San Leo. This is our objective – and culminates in a steep climb up zigzags on the face of the rocky promontory. San Marino at 21 miles and 2000ft is an ideal place for an early lunch and some time to explore the independent state on foot for a couple of hours. The final 17 miles is virtually all downhill to the sea and the last few miles leaving the hills for the suburbs of Rimini and Riccione. Our destination is the Hotel Poker – a comfortable 3* hotel with pool. We expect to arrive at 4pm. After putting bikes away, there will be the opportunity for a swim in the heated pool, or in the sea 300m away, followed by a fabulous celebration meal.
Sunday 10th June 2018 Return to UK
Transfer to Bologna airport to arrive back in UK late afternoon.