The Italian cycling community is big on traditions, and the Giro d’Italia organizer’s choice to repeat one of the most famous stages in the event’s 100-year history was greeted with enthusiasm when it was announced in the winter.
At 254-kilometer, stage 10 from Cuneo to Pinerolo through the high Alps was identical to the one in 1949, when campionissimo Fausto Coppi destroyed the opposition with a massive 200km-plus solo breakaway that saw him finish almost 12 minutes ahead of the runner-up, his national rival Gino Bartali, and more than 19 minutes ahead of the rest.
Lance Armstrong's Astana team expressed optimism Wednesday over his prospects of recovering from his broken collarbone in time to line up for next month's Tour of Italy.
The seven-time Tour de France winner's participation in the Giro, which starts on May 9 was thrown into doubt after he required surgery following his fall in the Vuelta Castilla y Leon race in Spain on March 25.
The Texan had a stainless steel plate and 12 screws inserted to stabilize his right collarbone, which was broken in four places, but is now back in training.
The Giro d’Italia is losing one of its marquee stages across the Alps for its centennial celebration due to access problems on the French side of the border.
Race officials announced Wednesday that the blockbuster, five-climb 250km stage over the Col d’Izoard and other emblematic climbs in the French Alps scheduled for stage 10 on May 19 between Cuneo and Pinerolo will be altered and stay entirely inside Italy.
The 2009 Giro d’Italia promises to be a star-studded affair, with defending Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre expecting to be one of the favorites duking it out for the maglia rosa.
The Cervélo captain has some unfinished business of sorts with the Giro.
Boasting podium spots in both the Tour (1st in 2008, 3rd in 2006) and Vuelta (2nd in 2005, 07 and 3rd in 2008), the Spanish climber only lacks a top three in the corsa rosa to join an elite club of grand tour podium finishers.
Australian cyclist Cadel Evans announced on Monday that he would not compete in the Giro d'Italia this season because he was determined to win the Tour de France in July.
The 31-year-old, who was second in last year's Tour, explained that while he would have liked to compete in the Giro it simply did not fit into his plans as he prepares to take on Alberto Contador and seven-time winner Lance Armstrong.
"There has been a lot of talk about the Giro in the press," said the Silence team leader.
Italian national road champion Filippo Simeoni, who famously had a run-in with Lance Armstrong during the 2004 Tour de France, is not among the riders invited to this year’s Giro d’Italia.
Simeoni’s Flaminia Bossini team was not on the preliminary list of 20 teams announced Wednesday. Other teams absent from the initial list include Cofidis, Euskaltel, Française des Jeux and Fuji, formerly Saunier Duval.
Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre wants more than to defend his yellow jersey in 2009.
The 33-year-old Spanish climber revealed an ambitious racing calendar that includes taking aim at the Giro d’Italia podium and the world championships as well as a defense of the Tour along the way.
First up will be the Giro, where Sastre said he has some unfinished business with the season’s first grand tour.
Organizers for the Tour of Italy said on Friday that Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara will join former seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong on the start line for the centenary 2009 edition.
It promises to be one of the strongest Giro line-ups in recent history with Italian former winners Ivan Basso — returning from a two-year doping suspension — Damiano Cunego and Danilo Di Luca as well as Spaniard Carlos Sastre, the current Tour de France champion, amongst the riders.
Lance Armstrong may have seven Tour de France victories under his belt, but he’s not predicting victory for himself when he tackles the Giro d’Italia for the first time in May.
Organizers unveiled the route for the centenary edition on Saturday, and Armstrong said that while he taps Ivan Basso as the favorite for overall victory, he’s nonetheless looking forward to competing.
The Giro d’Italia, which in 2009 will welcome seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong for the first time, will start its centenary edition in Venice on May 9 and finish in Rome on May 31, organizers said in unveiling the 3395.5km route on Saturday.
The race, which Spaniard Alberto Contador won this year, will comprise 21 stages and take in major cities including Milan, Turin, Florence, Bologna and Naples.