They’ve done it! The beautiful – and scorchio – one is over. Having ridden 400km from Siena and climbed over 5200m from Siena to Rome over three days, the 49 women from the property industry of this year’s pedElle have absolutely earned the £50,000 of sponsorship they have raised so far.
The final day dawns overcast and the riders roll out at 7am into much cooler temperatures. Legs are a little tired after the hard graft of yesterday’s hills but the adrenaline is pumping for the final 145km in the saddle… and Rome at the end of it.
The peloton sets off for the first 33km stage with the sun hidden behind the clouds, the cooler temperatures making the morning climb much more comfortable than previous days. The landscape has changed to a more agricultural one, and the riders make their way through peaceful countryside, wildflower meadows and chestnut trees. After a coffee break with some amazing apple cake, a mid-morning thunderstorm relieves some of the humidity and cools everyone off, but it also clears the clouds and once again the temperature rockets towards the mid 30s.
The group splits into smaller groups so that everyone can take the climb and descent into lunch at their own pace. It is not a smooth ride into Magliano Romano though: the road surface is the epitome of Italian road surfaces, pitted and bumpy with huge holes. It is with huge relief to stop and rest jolted limbs and eat huge bowls of the delicious locally made pasta. There is also a delightful moment when a young girl comes to say hello to the group, looking about in her wonder at 49 Lycra-clad women… we hope we are inspiring the next generation of empowered women!
With 98km and 1460m now complete, it’s time for the final push to Rome. The sun is now beating down as we push up a couple of short sharp ascents before rolling toward a regroup on the River Tiber.
We leave our motorcycle outriders and support crew behind as we take the 11km cycle path along the river toward Rome. It is very pleasant to ride without traffic as the greenery gives way to the industrial outskirts of the city.
We are met at the edge of city centre by a representative if the British Embassy in Rome, a local cycle tour group BiciRoma and three Polizei. The Peloton is then given an incredible police escort to the Vatican, with sirens on, passing seamlessly and smoothly through busy traffic junctions and past hoards of tourists. After a photo call in front of the Vatican, the group makes its way to its final destination and celebratory glasses of Aperol Spritz on the hotel’s roof terrace, sponsored by Forsters.
It has been an incredible journey. One that has cemented friendships, a sense of camaraderie and family as well as engendering a sometimes love/hate relationship with the sun and cycling (separately both are fine). It has also raised more than £50,000 for Coram and Club Peloton’s other charity beneficiaries. Well done to every rider – you smashed it!