Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Passo Giau

Last year when I did the Maratona dles Dolomites I opted to do the medium rather than the long course. The difference being more KMs and the Passo Giau, a 9.8-kilometre ascent at 9.4% average gradient. I just wasn't sure if I had it in my legs to finish if I took the turn-off for it. This year I'm hoping to do the long course, and hoping for "good" legs and good weather that day.

So, it was with interest that I watched stage 15 of the Giro today from Trento to Tre Cime Di Lavaredo which included the Passo Giau. As reported: "As the Passo Giau began in Selva di Cadore, Piepoli then hit the front on the cloudy wet road with temperatures in mid-teens (C) but no rain was falling. It was the fourth time in Giro history over Passo Giau as only Pérez Cuapio, Parra and Rasmussen could stay with the two Saunier Duval riders (Piepoli and Ricco). A fifty strong Gruppo Maglia Rosa was at 3'15" with Liquigas riding well with Spezialetti on the front, but after three kilometres of Giau, Paolo Savoldelli moved to the front and notably upped the pace as he was working for teammate Eddy Mazzoleni. This blew the Gruppo Maglia Rosa apart, with all of Maglia Rosa's Liquigas teammates going out the back. Cunego was also isolated, as Bruseghin and Vila were dropped.
Another victim of the Astana attack was Stefano Garzelli (Acqua e Sapone) who was popped and was struggling to get back on the Gruppo Maglia Rosa with his teammate Branislau Samoilau..
At the front of the race, halfway to the summit to Passo Giau, Piepoli's powerful progression had already popped almost everyone in the break, except his teammate Riccò, magic Mexican Pérez Cuapio (Panaria) and Parra (Cofidis), while the ever diminishing Gruppo Maglia Rosa was at 3'10" with just eight riders left; Savoldelli, Mazzoleni, Schleck, Simoni and Arroyo. As Didi Devil ran alongside the break with three kilometres to the summit of Passo Giau, Pérez Cuapio took the devils trident from him and poked Piepoli, then gave it back to the German! The magic Mexican was pleased with himself and cracked a big smile, as next to him, Colombian Ivan Parra was struggling with the ascent.
Behind in the Gruppo Maglia Rosa at 2.7 kilometres from the summit of Passo Giau, Di Luca got tired of Savoldelli's antics and said "basta." The Maglia Rosa accelerated hard and only Schleck, Mazzoleni, Cunego and Simoni could stay with him. Up front, sat the 40-kilometre to go arch, Piepoli slowed slightly and Riccò then took over on the front. The riders put on their wind jackets as the temperature was just five degrees and at the summit of the 2236m high Passo di Giau. Di Luca's pace had personally pulled back 30" to 2'45", with Savoldelli, Petrov and Pozzovivo chasing hard at 3'15", and Garzelli, Bruseghin and others chasing at 4'30".
Parra was gapped by Piepoli and Riccò on the fast 20-kilometre descent to the world famous ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo as was Pérez Cuapio, the break passed through Cortina d'Ampezzo and both Parra and Pérez Cuapio had rejoined the break. As super descender Savoldelli regained the Gruppo Maglia Rosa, he went to the front and attacked with his teammate Mazzoleni on the descent in Pocol with 28 kilometres remaining. It was a brilliant move that would have major consequences in the final outcome of the stage......".

It's always entertaining to me to be riding on the same roads as the pros and challenging myself.

Maps/Photo: Passo Giau profile, Pérez Cuapio poking Piepoli on the Giau, the Maratona long course that includes the Giau

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