Ride the Dreamland is a quartet of magnificent road and gravel races taking place in Veneto, Italy, from 13th October. What an unforgettable way to draw the curtain on the 2021 season.
The 2021 season has been a season like no other with the world’s race organisers, WorldTour riders and recreational cyclists overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic to forge cycling memories that’ll live forever. Still, even though it’s mid-October, the best is yet to come with four days of unrivalled competition at a series of events entitled ‘Ride the Dreamland’ in the Veneto region of northern Italy.
Organized by the legendary rider Filippo Pozzato, whose palmares includes victory at Milan-San Remo in 2006 and two stage wins at the Tour de France, Ride the Dreamland takes place between Wednesday 13th October and Sunday 17th October 2021, and offers an array of race genres and distances to satisfy every cyclist
WEDNESDAY 13TH OCTOBER: GIRO DEL VENETO
One of the highlights of Ride the Dreamland is the long-awaited return of the Giro del Veneto. This will be the 84th edition of this iconic race after its last running in 2012.
Back then, Oscar Gatto, who won a stage of the Giro d’Italia in 2011, took the title, adding to an impressive cast of Giro del Veneto winners that includes three-time victor Fausto Coppi, Roger De Vlaeminck and two-time Giro d’Italia winner Gilberto Simoni.
This year’s race will see the likes of UAE Team Emirates’ Davide Formolo, who uses Campagnolo Super Record and Bora wheels, and Cofidis, Solutions Crédits’ Fabio Sabatini, among the world-class riders lining up at the start.
As for the start of the 168km Giro del Veneto, that’s in the medieval walled city of Cittadella, founded in the 13th century as a military outpost of Padua. The historical route then continues to Piazzola sul Brenta, which features the famous Villa Contarini, before heading to Vicenza.
Vicenza has a special place in the hearts of many cyclists as it’s the home of Campagnolo.
Giro del Veneto then heads south into the Colli Euganei hills and also visits Vo’ Euganeo, one of the first places in Italy to be struck by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Finally, after negotiating the elegant spa town of Abano Terme, the riders will have around 9km to prepare for the final sprint towards Padua and one of the most awe-inspiring finish lines in the world – the majestic Prato della Valle.
FRIDAY 15TH OCTOBER: SERENISSIMA GRAVEL
Serenissima Gravel is the next event in the Ride the Dreamland series and is a groundbreaker – the first-ever professional gravel race.
The 126.6km gravel adventure starts in the holiday resort of Jesolo, following a route within the shadows of the Adriatic Sea before heading inland on the Sile and Treviso-Ostiglia cycle routes and reaching the magnificent finish at Piazzola sul Brenta, which entails three 11km laps around this legendary commune.
Of the 126.6km parcours, there are 11 sectors of gravel that equates to around 75 per cent of the race distance.
SATURDAY 16TH OCTOBER: GRANFONDO VENEtoGO
The 113km Granfondo VENEtoGO is served up on Saturday’s menu and starts and finishes in Cittadella. The race will be started by a string of great champions including Fabian Cancellara, Alessandro Ballan and Ivan Basso, and follows the route of the following day’s Veneto Classic, of which we’ll expand shortly.
Just note that there are two sections to challenge the most daring: the Tisa Wall and La Rosina climb. These are the ascents that’ll welcome the King and Queen of the mountains.
SUNDAY 17TH OCTOBER: VENETO CLASSIC
The final race in the Ride the Dreamland quartet is the 209.9km Veneto Classic that, as the name suggests, is set to become an instant classic. Again, riders of the calibre of Formolo will line up with the aim of writing themselves into the history books.
This is the jewel of the crown of Pozzato and partner Jonny Moletta’s imagination, as it starts from the edge of the Venice Lagoon in which the city of Venice is situated.
From those beautiful beginnings flow further Venetian wonders as the route passes Marca Trevigiana before battling Ca’ del Poggio, which featured in the 2020 Giro d’Italia. The hills continue in Prosecco before competitors ride to the stunning province of Belluno that sits at the foot of the Dolomites.
Possagno’s up next, which is renowned as the birthplace of the great neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova.
Among Canova’s many architectural achievements is Possagno’s Tempio Canoviano, which he designed, financed and partly built himself.
There’ll be little time to sightsee, of course, as it’s soon onto the final three 13.8km circuits that include the brutal cobbled climb of La Tisa – twice – and the momentous La Rosina climb – three times! It’s then all about the sprint to the finish at Bassano del Grappa, the historic city that houses masterpieces from the great painters Palladio and Jacopo Bassano.
The aim of Pozzato and Moletta is for the Veneto Classic to be on the WorldTour. The parcours looks like it’d be a valuable addition.
Good luck to each and every rider who’s ready to Ride the Dreamland