Cyclists are like mountain climbers. They like to ascend through the thin air of mythic climbs to reach the summit. It’s nothing short of a primordial desire it seems, but one that’s within every cyclist’s capabilities, little matter what their personal climbing skills may be. And on the Italian island of Sicily, cyclists love to venture to the historic hilltop village of Taormina.

Words and Images: James Startt – European Associate


Taormina has always managed to keep itself at the center of attention. Its magnificent outdoor theatre was first built by the Ancient Greeks when their civilization dominated the Mediterranean Sea, and was later updated by the Romans. A favored spot by the German writer Goethe, the town has always held a cherished spot on the island, witnessed again in May this year when the leaders of the G7 countries came here for their annual summit.

And when a pair of the new Zipp 454 NSW disc carbon clinchers arrived in Sicily this past spring, it was only natural to give them a run up to Taormina. “I had to ride the climb,” says Thomas, our local test rider. “The fortress city of Taormina is to Sicily what Monaco is to France, except there is no monarch and the atmosphere is more laid back. That said, the climb to Taormina is not steep so it is a power climb and if you are a strong climber, you can even handle it in your big chainring…

To read about the rest of our adventures in Taormina and see all the photos go to Zipp x PELOTON: Part III – Air

Go to Zipp’s website to learn more about the new 454 NSW Disc wheels we rode.