Friday, October 16, 2009

"Giro, salite storiche. Milano in castigo"

Italian newspaper LA STAMPA's headline for today, "Giro, salite storiche. Milano in castigo" (Giro, legendary climbs. Milan punished).

The story confirms that the finish of the Giro d'Italia will be in Verona. More from the story:

Milan will conspicuously snubbed by the 2010 Giro, which in the history of the Corsa Rosa has almost always been the scene of the final stage. Milan will be completely ignored and thus not even host a stage finish. The rift between the RCS Sport, which organizes the Giro, and administrators of the Lombard capital has not been repaired.

Last year Milan showed little love for cycling, the Giro almost bearable (which then saw the rider's protest on Stage 9, considered too dangerous by the riders) and which became impatient with the start of Milan-Sanremo two months earlier (traffic police ticketed official race cars parked at Castello Sforzesco). It gave sufficient reasons to convince the organizers of the Corsa Rosa for a change of scenery.

Beginning in Amsterdam on Saturday, 8 May, the Giro will move to Italy after three days (with a charter flight to Turin or Levaldigi, in the Cuneo) to resume - with no day off for the journey - with the 4th stage in Cuneo, probably a team time trial.

Stage 5 will be in memory of Girardengo and Coppi (50 years after the death of the great Fausto), departing from Novara (after another short transfer) and arriving in Novi Ligure in front of the Museum of Champions.

A transfer will take the Giro to Liguria with the stage passing the Tuscan cities of Carrara, then expected to reach Siena, perhaps Florence (on the tenth anniversary of the death of Gino Bartali) and Grosseto. Then the Giro will go down to the Lazio and Campania regions (Cava dei Tirreni and Avellino).

From here the Giro will point towards the Adriatic Sea with a finish in Bari, probably Bitonto. This will be followed by a start in L'Aquila in memory of victims of the recent earthquake. The Giro will then scale the Terminillo climb (perhaps twice) and pass Porto Recanati, Pesaro, Cesenatico (to celebrate Marco Pantani), and Ferrara.

The Giro will then reach the mountain stages in the last 9 stages. Returning are the legendary climbs that will decide the final rankings: Monte Grappa, Zoncolan, Plan de Corones (time trial from San Vigilio), Mendola, Aprica, Mortirolo, Santa Cristina, Gavia, Tonale.

Then the big surprise: a time trail from Soave to Verona just as in 1984 when Francesco Moser snatched the pink jersey at the last minute from Frenchman Laurent Fignon. (ed. note: the 1984 finished within the L'Arena at Piazza Bra).

The next edition, if our anticipations are confirmed, may prove to be really tough, both for the presence of so many steep climbs and for the numerous transfers.

Photo: Piazza Bra in Verona with L'Arena; Piazza Bra in Verona at night viewed from L'Arena

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