North to Avigliana and Milano-Torino

Upon leaving Trasimeno we went west a bit and stopped for a visit with Colin’s estate agent to update the offering of the house in Papiano.  The agent and her partner have a large, old house on a hill with a lovely swimming pool and fantastic views of the valley below.

Afterwards we continued west a bit before turning north towards our destination just outside Torino that we chose to watch the next race from.

We made it just past Genova and a bit up the highway north when we encountered major roadworks and traffic slowdown.  As it was getting late anyways we left the highway and pulled into the town of Masone that was supposed to have a couple of aires.  We found the quieter one and parked up for the night.

In the morning we had a quick cup of tea then proceeded north via the smaller road rather than the motorway.  It was a very nice, pleasant drive – we had to stop several times at rail crossings to let a train pass.  It was a passenger train that stopped at all of the small towns along the way and we kept overtaking it, then having to wait for it to pass at the crossings.

Having picked the town of Avigliana we were very pleasantly surprised – the town itself was alright but it’s the area in general that impressed us.  On the map it looks to be surrounded by motorways and seemed like it might be very congested but it wasn’t.

We passed through the town and stopped on the edge at a restaurant right on one of the ‘lakes’ – there are two of them, one being Lago Grande di Avigliana, and the other Lago Piccolo di Avigliana (big lake and small lake).  To me they were more like fair-sized ponds, but never-the-less they reminded me greatly of home and I loved it there.

Lunch was wonderful – I had wild boar stew with polenta and a side of grilled veggies.  The boar meat was so tender and flavourful and the sauce was both sweet and savory – just delicious.  It’s one of the few times I actually finished a meal instead of taking half of it home for later.

After lunch we drove just a bit further along the route and found a large paved parking area right on the smaller of the lakes.  There were walking and riding paths and many folks were out with their dogs.

There was also a nice little bar that served a good local red wine.  Sitting in the sun on the shore of a lake, beautiful mountains as a backdrop and sipping red wine – almost heaven!

The wind howled and rocked the campervan most of the night but we were snug and I slept well.

Race day was sunny and beautiful, with the wind having died down early in the morning.

We took Henry for a short walk, then had a cappuccino at the bar on the lake.

Milano-Torino is the oldest race in cycling, with the first edition being in 1876!  We were very close to the finish – maybe 15 km or less – and when the race arrived the breakaway of four was about to be caught.

The whole race passed us so quickly I barely got 25 shots even in sports mode.

As per usual now we watched the finish on GCN, and one of the riders from new pro team Tudor won!  The team was started only four years ago and is now owned by retired Swiss great Fabian Cancellara – the main sponsor is Swiss watch-maker Tudor.  They’re not a World Tour team yet but do get invites and this was their first ever win at the top level – kudos to them.

After we’d watched the finish and they’d opened the barriers we got going the short distance down to Pinerolo where we stopped at the quiet aire for the night.

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