Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy) is described as the toughest race—in the world’s most beautiful place.

Since 1909, it has been the annual Italian bicycle race, one of the most prestigious in the world (along with the “Tour de France” and “Vuelta a España,” it makes up the Grand Tour circuit). Like the other Grand Tours, the modern editions of the Giro d’Italia normally consist of 21 day-long segments (stages) over a 23-day period that includes 2 rest days.

The Mad Dash

To produce this project, Italian photographer Edoardo Delille exhaustingly traced the daily progression of the 2015 edition of the Giro. With a rented camper van, Delille would drive each evening to a prominently placed location on the route of the following days’ stage. He would then wake up at the crack of dawn—before the immense crowds (and security vans) had arrived—in order to make any final adjustments to his positioning and perspective. Then he would wait for the cyclists to pass. As soon as he had his shot, he would pack everything up and drive like mad to the next location, in order to be ready for the next day.

(Delille standing on top of his camper van, ready to make the first photograph of the series. Delille was originally commissioned by Sportweek to shoot this story.)

The Giro’s route took Delille across Italy’s many and diverse regions. Along the way, he also made sure to photograph examples of each area’s local specialities—hazelnuts or local fishes or prosecco. This tied together Delille’s photographs of the landscape with the products produced in the landscape.

Below is a short text that Delille produced as a response to his own experiences in making the work:

The madness of a descent that plunges towards the center of the earth. The torture of a hill that soars into the sky.
The solitude of the road and the celebration at the finish line. The embrace of the people that push you with their hands and hearts.
The war against time, which is both with you and against you. The fatigue that is never-ending, even when it’s over.
And then there is the rain, wind, snow, tears and joy.
This is what Giro is.
The toughest race in world’s most beautiful place.

More About the Tour

During the Tour, cyclists pass through all the regions of Italy. For each region, this provides a context to showcase their local agricultural products that make that region famous in Italy and across the world.

At each stage, the leading cyclist of the moment is identified by a pink jersey. The color pink was chosen because La Gazzetta dello Sport, the sports newspaper that created the Giro over a century ago, was printed on pink paper.

This year, the Giro D’Italia coincided with the Expo 2015, which was held in Milan. As the Expo’s theme was “feeding the planet,” it seemed like a good moment to produce this series which captures both Italy’s uniquely beautiful countryside and the products of its soil.