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Denmark goes pink

8th March 2012 Print

In 2012, the Giro d'Italia has its northernmost starting point ever, when the opening stages of the world's toughest bicycle race take place in Denmark 5-7 May. The bicycle loving Danes will kick off the cycling party with an array of fun happenings and side events.

The three first stages of the battle for the pink jersey, the Maglia Rosa, take off in and around the provincial towns of Herning and Horsens on the Jutland peninsula. British star sprinter, Mark Cavendish, and the rest of the riders face 405 kilometres of city circuits, endless windswept coastline, unspoiled forests and two of the highest points in Denmark, Ejer Bavnehøj and Yding Skovhøj.

Millions of TV-viewers will follow the race, and 250,000 visitors are expected to gather around the picturesque route where they can experience the suffering and the drive of the riders up close. In connection with the Giro d'Italia there will be an array of exciting things to do during the "Giro-mania", which is what the host cities have named the event. Citizens, organisations, schools, and shops have planned a number of different Giro-related side events and happenings to mark and celebrate the race and Denmark as a cycling destination.

Pedal to the metal

The municipalities have arranged several large recreational bike races including "Cycling For All" in the town of Herning - an opportunity for amateur riders to test parts of the second stage of the Giro d'Italia, on the day before the 198 professional riders are let loose on the route.

If you are looking for a more bumpy ride and mud in your face, maybe Horsens MTB Prison Break on May 4 is the thing for you. This mountain bike race celebrates the Giro d' Italia by inviting daredevils and everybody else to participate in a race starting from the former state prison in Horsens. The rough surroundings with a murky history set the scene for a challenging urban race taking you through parks, shopping streets and buildings with several jumps and ramps along the track.

Should you prefer experiencing the "Giro-mania" without having to break a sweat, visit Denmark's Industrial Museum in Horsens, where stage 3 will unfold. Here you will find a large themed exhibition about Giro d'Italia, and visitors can get a glimpse of the story of the traditional race, which has been a part of the Italian heritage since 1909. It will be the story of great champions like Coppi, Gimondi and Pantani, and a story of the drama and the moments that have become a part of bicycling history. It will also be the story of the legendary of the Danish riders in the race such as Ole Ritter and Rolf Sørensen.

Cycling in the veins

With in excess of 7,400 miles of sign-posted cycle routes, no insurmountable mountains, beautiful nature and short distances between dining and accommodation, Denmark is close to the perfect cycle destination. You are never far away from the sea if you feel like a swim, or the nearest town, if you want to do a bit of shopping. And if you want to save up some of that precious energy, you can bring the bicycle on the train and quickly make your way from one end of the country to the other.

In Denmark, cyclists are neither unpopular nor a rarity in the streetscape. Danes love their bicycles and belong among the most bike-riding people in the world. You soon discover this fact, e.g. on a trip through the streets of Copenhagen where the cycle paths are used diligently year round, and you can experience the busiest bicycle street in the western world, when 35,000 cyclists cross Dronning Louise's Bro (Queen Louise's bridge) during morning rush hour. The city has been appointed the world's first bike city by ICU, the International Cycling Union, and the City of Copenhagen's official vision is to become the world's best bike city.

To comply with this vision, Copenhagen now offers city bikes, which are free to use with a deposit of 20 DKK. Once in the saddle, one of the best ways of exploring the city is by joining a guided bicycle tour, where you'll experience Copenhagen's bike revolution and feel the vibe of the stylish and cool capital first hand. To make your asphalt adventure safe and easy, the city is full of wide bicycle highways and roadside maintenance centres with free air hoses, oil and tire levers. Basically, Denmark is a cycle nation, and bringing the Giro d' Italia to the country will underline this fact and bring the Danes even closer to their beloved two-wheeled friends.

Staging the race

The first stage of the Giro d' Italia on May 5th consists of an individual time trial of 8.7 kilometres through Herning city centre, while the second stage on May 6th will start out from Herning and take the 22 teams past 194 kilometres of pristine coastline, unspoiled interior of forests, picturesque country lanes, heaths and rolling farmland before finishing off with a 12 kilometre loop to the finish line in Herning.

On the third stage on May 7th, both starting point and finish line are in Horsens, and during the 190.4 kilometre route the 198 participants will be challenged by on of the highest point in Denmark at 172 meters above sea level. Then, the riders set off from Verona, Italy on stage four and on May 27th, after a total of 3476.4 kilometres, the winner of the pink jersey is celebrated in Milan.

How to get there:

Flight time to Denmark is just 90 minutes from the UK. Ryanair flies from London Stansted to Aarhus and Billund every day. Ryanair also operates three flights a week from Edinburgh to Billund. EasyJet flies to Copenhagen everyday from Manchester, London Stansted and London Gatwick, BA operates daily flights to Copenhagen and Billund and SAS also flies to Copenhagen several times a day from both London Heathrow, Aberdeen, Manchester, Birmingham and Dublin. Alternatively you can bring your car on the ferry from DFDS Seaways, which serves the Harwich to Esbjerg route every other day. The crossing is over night and with all the on board entertainment, bars, restaurants and shops you can start your Danish adventure in style.

Once in Denmark, regular train and bus services will swiftly take you to your destination of choice. Plan your journey on

If you are planning to join the "Giro-mania" and add a little pink colour to your life, go to and to find out more about Giro d' Italia.

More Photos - Click to Enlarge