The 2023 Veneto Classic will start in Mel (Belluno) and finish in Bassano del Grappa (Vicenza) – a 195km route, this year with an additional ascent of La Rosina and La Tisa, where a Flanders-style ‘fan party’ will also ensure an electrifying atmosphere. Save the date: Sunday October 15, after the previous day’s Social Ride VENEtoGo

Want to see out the professional cycling season in style – and in festive mood? The Veneto Classic is the Italian pro event when it comes the placing the serious business of elite racing in the context of a broader celebration – of a sport, of a region and of conviviality. Such has been this race’s mission and its mark in its first two years of existence – and so it will continue in the third edition, scheduled for Sunday, October 15, as the closing event of the Ride the Dreamland series, organised by PP Sport Events in collaboration with the Veneto Region.

This year, the race will start from Mel (Belluno), since 2018 officially recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, and head towards Feltre before hugging the right bank of the Piave river to Pederobba. From there, the peloton will continue towards Bassano del Grappa, passing through Possagno, bithplace of one of Italy’s greatest sculptors, Antonio Canova, and then to Romano d’Ezzelino.

Described in a passage of Dante’s ‘Paradiso’, here Romano d’Ezzelino will signify something else – the start of a kind purgatory, as the flat roads of the race’s first 80 kilometres give way to hillier terrain. With the first of four 12.6km laps of the La Rosina circuit, the tobbaggan ride begins – on a climb frequently graced by the Giro d’Italia and Giro del Veneto and also beloved to local amateurs. Measuring 2.1km in length and rising at an average gradient of 6.5%, repeated four times, it will hurt legs and crush some dreams, with 60km still to ride when the bunch moves onto its next set of obstacles.

They come with the circuit of La Tisa, a 330-metre cobbled ramp with a 15.2% average gradient that gained overnight fame – or notoriety – when Pozzato and his team made it the centrepiece of the 2020 Italian Championships. This lap is 12.4km long and will be completed three times in its entirety – but the climb itself features four times in total, once as an ‘amuse-bouche’ as the riders enter the loop. La Tisa is where the unique, festive spirit of the Veneto Classic is also most evident, with a You&Meat street food stall ensuring that the tifosi will be well fed, the Pedavena brewery that no one goes thirsty, a big screen that they miss none of the action – and a live DJ that the sound of grinding gears has a more melodic backing track. In short, a Tour-of-Flanders-style atmosphere on the beautiful Venetian roads.

Before arriving in Bassano, another daunting adversary awaits: the Diesel Farm “wall” –  a delivishly steep 1300-metre strip of dirt or ‘sterrato’ road, with an average gradient of 10.9%, crawling past the Diesel Farm winery, 10km from the finish. Last but not least comes the short but demanding Contrà Soarda ramp, before, finally, the peloton sweeps into Bassasno – through Contrà San Giorgio, down Viale Diaz, over the Ponte Nuovo, across Piazzale Cadorna, then left onto Via Porto di Brenta, along the Via Portici Lunghi and to the finish-line in Piazza Libertà, where a third name will be added to the roll of honour along with those of 2021 winner Samuele Battistella and last year’s champion, Marc Hirschi.

‘Three years ago, with the Veneto Region, we launched the Veneto Classic with a desire and a mission – to create something new and fresh for the Italian calendar, something that would be recognized internationally as well,’ explains Filippo Pozzato, founder of PP Sport Events. ‘For us, elite bike racing should be a reason for celebration – a festive day out where everyone can enjoy the competitive element but also the atmosphere around it. Hence the idea of the Tisa Party – and why anyone who comes to watch will have a great day in Bassano del Grappa, too.’

And hence, also, why, adjacent to the finish-line, a large area will be reserved for PP Sport Events sponsors to introduce visitors to their products.