The Grand Tour Diaries – Girovagando 2022
Part one: Before the grande partenza in Hungary
by Lionel Birnie
I’ve always enjoyed documenting my travels at the grand tours because as the years go by the races merge into one another and the details get lost.
When I worked for Cycling Weekly I covered the 2006 and 2007 editions of the Tour de France in a camper van, an idea that sounded great on paper but turned out to be a logistical sitcom. While the camper van trebled as our hire car, hotel and press room and saved money on expenses, it was also incredibly slow over the ground, especially in the mountains. The average speed was probably not much more than the riders and so we were often lagging way behind the race, puffing and panting to keep up, and some days were barely more than observers from the periphery.
However, that often meant slapstick material for my Tales from the Broomwagon diary. We either missed the race or missed dinner. Some days we missed both.
Later on, I focused more on the food in Le Gourmet de France, and that evolved into the diaries we published in book form for The Cycling Podcast.
In 2017, we wrote A Journey Through the Cycling Year, a collection of our diaries from that season’s grand tours. Two years later, we followed it with The Grand Diaries.
And so this, the first part of my 2022 Giro d’Italia diary from the grande partenza in Hungary, continues the series of diaries from the grand tours. As the 2023 race approaches, I hope you enjoy reading it.
Wednesday, May 4
The Budapest grande partenza had been a long time coming. The Hungarian capital was supposed to host the start of the 2020 Giro d’Italia only for the pandemic to cancel the race – all racing, in fact. When the Giro was rescheduled for the autumn, they lopped off the Hungarian stages and started in Sicily instead.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial