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Vacation choice: Early TdF or Giro?(6 posts)

Vacation choice: Early TdF or Giro?Gator
Jan 16, 2004 11:36 AM
Well, despite our best efforts, it appears that a guided vacation package for the final week of the TdF is all but out of the question at this point--they're booked. (Although, if anyone knows of a reputable company that still has space...) And sorry, we just aren't DIY candidates for something like this.

Anyway, this leaves us with a choice: One of the earlier weeks of the TdF or skip it and do the Giro instead. I'm torn. Obviously, this is THE TdF to see. On the other hand, someone put it to me like this: if you want an event, do the TdF. If you want a vacation, do the Giro.

Waddaya think? Which would be the better experience for the money: the divine chaos of the early Tour, or a longer, more laid-back package at the Giro?
Try Six Days of GhentFender
Jan 16, 2004 2:54 PM
I just returned (okay, actually returned in December) from the final day of Six Days of Ghent. My coach recommend I see it in person since I was planning on being in Belgium, as did former pro Shaun Wallace who's a friend of my coach, and who's actually raced it before. It is by far one of the best races you will ever spectate. Compared to the Giro or Tour, where you'll watch the riders go by for a few seconds, at Ghent your in a velodrome where every few minutes there's a sprint or a TT record that's about to be beat. Belgians are CRAZY fans. It's unbelieveable. I've attended World Cup MTB races and the S.F. Grand Prix, and never have I experienced this type of environment. Just to paint a better picture, sitting next to me where two old ladies and an old man who where really into the event. The would get ticked off when the Belgian riders lost or made a dumb move and would stand and yell when he won.

I'm seriously considering attending this year again since the trip to Athens is way to expensive. If you want more info on this race, let me know.
Sounds way cool, but...Gator
Jan 16, 2004 7:06 PM
...the timing is off (has to be spring/summer) and we really planned to ride a lot rather than simply spectate. It sounds like a good time, and I'm a huge fan of their beer (Chimay Blue ROCKS) so I'd love to go. Maybe another year. The SF Grand Prix was pretty out of hand this year, no? I had a great seat at a party right on the Fillmore hill--sweet.
Giro- no doubt about itboneman
Jan 17, 2004 6:54 AM
More laid back and not as over run as the TDF. Tifosi are completely mad and the more fans, the more fun. I've been living in Europe for 5 years now and the Tour's become a massive event. Plus the Lance factor's resulted in a flood of Texan's, Texas wannabee's and hangers-on who can make things interesting in a non-European way.

Interestingly, we sat next to one of the UCI commissaires at dinner one night during the 2001 Road World's and the best organised tour of the big 3 is the Vuelta!
re: Vacation choice: Early TdF or Giro?Landsharkrider
Jan 18, 2004 11:41 AM
Don't give up on the TDF for an earlier week. I've been to the last couple of stages and viewing them is really not that great of a bike race-viewing experience (especially the finish in Paris). There are literally over a million people on the Champs that day and you will not be let anywhere near a place to see anything important. I was there in 2001 and did not know for any hour after the finish who won the stage. Forget about the podium ceremony - the public is not allowed anyplace within viewing without credentials. Great overall cultural experience but not great for seeing the race. I had the same thing at the Olympic road race before.

I am looking right now at booking a tour for the 2nd week. Trying to decide between Trek Travel (better quality - possible access to USPS team) or Velosport Vacations (less cost - looks like fun). Have you looked at others?

Everybody that I've talked to tells me that it's much better to go to the early or middle stages. Less people and clutter - you can walk right through the Depart village and even talk to riders. There was no way that was happening the last 2 stages of 01' TDF that I was there for.
Stage 3 TDF = Belgian CobblesGregory Taylor
Jan 18, 2004 4:37 PM
This could be a cool stage to watch, if you have to go early. Of course, the cobbled sections will be masses of humanity. But...if the weather is bad, this could be a treacherous (or at least interesting) stage.

The prologue is also a good bet because you get to see the individual riders. If you can get near the start house, where the riders wheel up and check in, it's even better.