DAY 3 Dallaglio Cycle Slam – San Gimignano to La Spezia. 170km

By Andrew Croker


Just a spectacular day. Clear blue skies and hardly a breath of wind.


A lumpy few kilometres to start and then downhill and pancake flat for 160km.


Decided to skip Pisa so headed north west to Ponsecca, then due west along the canal to Livorno. However we had plotted a route along the south side.


Joanna and I rode with Paul Kimmage (former pro) and William from Giant – a serious rider – and we figured it out. Unfortunately the entire field behind us rode 7km off-road through mud and puddles, with Les Ferdinand ending up in a ditch still attached to the bike.


Riding with pros is one of life's luxuries and privileges; like skiing with a guide and following in his tracks, or having a pro caddy on a links course. Paul just keeps us together, and he and William set a great tempo up through Viareggio and Forte di Marmi on big wide roads. A local pro tows us at 40k for a while. At one point Paul touches my thigh, which in itself was not entirely unpleasant, and gets me to drop back and hold the pace. I am seriously worried he is going to ride himself into a shape where I can't even hold his wheel.


A couple of cafe stops, some road works and a loose plate later, we roll into La Spezia, an old industrial port, at 3.15. Some three hours, later Hugh and Greg bring up the rear. A massive effort by Hugh, who first wore cycle kit only last week.


Hopefully tomorrow will be the 130km as advertised. 355km in the last two days on the bike – in Italian traffic – be glad to get to France!



Lawrence Dallaglio’s Cycle Slam is a quest to pedal over 2,800 kilometres to all Six Nations stadia in support of the Dallaglio Foundation and Sport Relief. A 250-strong squad of challengers is cycling to Rome, Paris, Twickenham, Cardiff, Dublin and Edinburgh to raise over £1million for these worthy causes. Garmin has donated Edge cycle computers to the many celebrities taking to two wheels along the way.