"Tour de Cure is unique entity that raises funds for a myriad of cancer research, support and prevention projects," said Rolando Schirato, Vittoria's Managing Director. "Their efforts have lead to 18 cancer breakthroughs, and we are proud to partner with them."
The "tour" in the title refers to an annual bike ride that raises vital funds and promotes through education, a healthy lifestyle to prevent cancer. This year's circuit spanned 10 days in April and May, and over 1,518km of road from Brisbane to Sydney. Shadowing the participants were Vittoria's Ella Grimoldby and Gianmarco Pignetti, who piloted the Vittoria Coffee mobile van. Each morning at 5am the indefatigable duo would prepare a slew of breakfast coffees. Then, they would get into their customised Mercedes, tricked out with a Faema Giugiaro espresso machine, grinder and refrigerator, and drive ahead of the riders to set up for morning tea. They would repeat their efforts for lunch and afternoon tea.
By the time they reached Sydney, they had prepared more than 4,500 coffees. "Our coffee fueled the riders," said Pignetti. "We were so happy to contribute an endless stream of piccolos, lattes, flat whites and even ristrettos. In fact, we went through eight kilos of coffee on day one." The pair restocked their supplies at the beginning of each day. Added Grimoldby, "It was intense - we existed in a bubble of 222 people all moving around together. But everyone involved was absolutely amazing, and what they were doing is incredible."
The 2016 tour raised almost $3 million to help fund Australian cancer projects. As the group navigated through cities including Byron Bay, Grafton, and Newcastle, they stopped at regional schools for educational seminars, and extended donations to local cancer organisations. In Coffs Harbour, Vittoria's contribution was presented to Sunrise host Mark Beretta and TourDe cure board members, who rode in the circuit and still managed to cross live to the Seven studios each morning.
Each night, the Vittoria emissaries attended dinners hosted by participants who shared their moving personal stories. "People really opened up about their experiences," said Pignetti. Among the riders who took part this year were 13 cancer survivors and three riders who've completed all previous nine events. "These were not professional cyclists, they were people who've been touched by cancer in some way," said Grimoldby. "It was a life-changing experience for all of the people involved - including us."