Love ’em or hate ’em, e-bikes are electrifying and are here to stay. Their broad popularity with club riders has caught the eye of race promoters, include the Giro d’ Italia, while traditional Saturday morning warriors watch in frustration as their Strava KOMs fall to e-bikes.
Sensing an e-opportunity, the Giro d’ Italia is holding the first ever e-bike road stage race, the Giro-E, alongside its more famous race for professional riders.
Riding the same epic Italian stages as the Pros for three tough weeks, 10 sponsored teams (Toyota, Pinarello, De Rosa, Segafredo, etc.) of amateur Giro-E riders race ahead of the traditional pedal-powered Giro on roads lined with thousands of spectators. The fans love it, cheering and running beside Giro-E riders with just as much enthusiasm as they do the Pros.
It’s as close as you can come to experiencing what it’s like to ride the Giro, but without pedaling too hard. The event is more about competitive-fun and e-bike promotion than in the gutter racing, but a purple leader’s jersey is awarded daily, so it’s no ride in the park.
Yes, e-bikes are poised to change the sport, in a big way. So big in fact, now cycling’s governing body the International Cycling Union (UCI) and its motorcycling counterpart (FIM) are fighting over which organisation holds jurisdiction over e-bike racing.
If this charges you up, better stay plugged in, expect e-bike categories to show up at a gran fondo near you soon.