The Lake Como region is rich not only in beauty and cycling history, but it is also the home of many renown and well-respected professional racers who grew up training on these roads and later to prepare for races all over the world.
Since we began guiding cycling guests in 2008, ComoLagoBike has partnered with many of these professional racers who return to their home region after retirement and continue to enjoy riding by guiding our guests along the roads they love and know so well.
As we begin our 10th year we are excited to announce the newest addition to ComoLagoBike, the highly accomplished, former professional road cyclist and 4-time wearer of the Tour de France Yellow Jersey, Alberto Elli, who will be our lead guide throughout the week to greet you at our shop and show you his home roads of Lake Como.
ComoLagoBike’s founder and President, Luca Molteni, says of Alberto
"I have known Alberto for many years, since we were kids, although he is older by about ten years. We crossed by each other on the roads of Lake Como when he was already a professional and I was a kid with a great desire to get into the world of cycling greats.
He has always been a very serious person and framed in his work where training was the basis of his success. He has a great passion for cycling and sports in general, but above all a passion of his home region, the lake and the mountains and everything that surrounds him. Alberto will bring his infinite experience to ComoLagoBike, telling his stories and anecdotes of the world of cycling from his vast world-wide perspective. He will involve our guests with his skills by providing his advice and his ability to communicate with others with that gentle encouragement that we all appreciate."
Ready to meet Alberto? Here are a few questions to introduce him to you, then when you arrive he will be more than happy to share more stories during your ride together!
I was born in Italy in a little town called Giussano, about 25 km north of Milano in what’s known as the Brianza region just south of Lake Como. I grew up as all Italians boys did - playing soccer - but when I was 12 years old I discovered cycling because my father and uncle were managers in a local cycling team.
I was pro rider for 16 years from 1987 to 2002. I won 30 races around the world, including a 2nd place in Milano-Sanremo, and 3rd place in Fleche Wallone. During my career I raced the Tour de France 11 times, and the most important moment in my career was in 2000 when I wore the Yellow Jersey. However, my biggest regret is never having won a stage in Tour de France. Twice I won the team time trial, but never a stage race. A few times I was 2nd and 3rd place, but I never won at the Tour.
Another highlight was at Milano-Sanremo in 1997 where I placed 2nd in a close sprint finish. It was an unexpected day because I have always hated this race, I found it too easy and flat (at nearly 300 km), I always preferred the hard-mountains races, but this day the 2nd place was a big surprise!
I raced in the Giro di Lombardia 10 times. It is a race that I've always liked; you race practically on the roads that I trained all year, but unfortunately I never managed to get in the top places because I arrived at the end of the season tired after a busy year. Even as an Italian, I never had a good relationship with the Giro d'Italia! I raced it on four occasions and I still got some good placements in the top five as well as winning a team time trial with the Ariostea team, but I preferred the Tour de France and often sacrificed the Italian race to better prepare for the French one.
I rode many races in 16 years as pro but my most special and exciting experience was when I twice rode an eight-stage MTB race in Australia called the Crocodile Trophy. For a week we rode in the outback, slept in a tent....it was the most difficult race I have ever done!
I am a cycling guide now, I guide cyclo-tourists on rides through Belgium, France, and Holland, and to race the Belgium classics. I spent the last two summers guiding at a resort in Sardinia. I have two sons Andrea, 26, and Simone, 21.
I am very excited to join ComoLagoBike and to start this new adventure. I have been a guide in another role, but here I know very well what I will do. I like to ride bikes with the guests, to teach them skills and talk about cycling. My favorite place to ride in Lake Como is the Ghisallo and to see the church and museum. Around the lake we can see beautiful places, mountains, a lot of roads to climb....it's wonderful.
Regarding food, I don't like bars or energy drinks. I sometimes have to eat them, but when I can I prefer to get a big sandwich with a glass of Coke. Depending on the moment, such as riding fast and hard then bars are better, but when you stop by the lake in the sun.....what is better than a cold drink with sandwich or pizza?