Friday, April 20, 2012

Report from Punto Veleno

From Bill, who watched Stage 3 of the Giro del Trentino from several vantage points on the Punto Veleno climb, we have this report:

"We parked at Castello di Brenzone as you suggested- excellent starting point. My friend Doug and I immediately hiked up slope and around the first of 20 tornanti toward Punto Veleno. It was steep but the weather was cool and cloudy. We stopped to catch our breath at the end of one stretch and a local rompicoglioni informed us that this was only 17% and the steepness hadn't even started yet- we were headed for 22%. Then he clattered away with his hiking poles and we continued our climb. Despite the coolness I was soon sweating profusely and my left leg was aching where it joins the torso. This is hard to walk up, let alone ride!

Looking down towards Malcesini from the Punto Veleno roadway


Higher up we started hearing helicopters and decide we should find a spot to watch the race from. We still had some time as they were just hitting the bottom of the climb so we kept going until tornante 3 (numbered top to bottom). After a while a few motorcycles started coming through, with loudspeakers announcing the leaders. Eventually the race leader, tiny Dominico Pozzovivo came dancing through on his pedals, tranquillo as riding a Sunday pedalata.

A minute later Sylvester Szmyd, larger and less comfortable-looking, grunted past. Then 2 fellows racing for 3rd place, José Rojano Guillen followed by Damiano Cunego, pedaled by. Solo and occasional pairs of riders continued creeping past for the next 5 minutes, then a couple of small groups. We started to head back down, and stragglers were getting helpful pushes by the tifosi. Another was holding onto a team car for a tow, and the last had grabbed onto a a race fan's motorino and was getting an assist up the long gradient between tornanti 4 and 3.

Ivan Basso was huffing and puffing

A hint at the steepnesss


The hike down was much easier of course but I continued whining about my sore legs. I've never climbed Ovaro-Zoncolan on foot or bike, but I was certain it couldn't be harder than this. My friend Doug, who is an experienced trail runner, has hiked up Zoncolan a couple of times to watch Giro finishes, and states that it's harder. I'll have to take his word for it as I don't think I'll be attempting Il Kaiser any time soon."

Note: you can watch a video of the entire climb here (from www.steephill.tv)

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