Besides overall contenders Casagrande, Garzelli. Gotti, Pantani and Simoni, these are the climbers who could win a stage or shoot for the best climber's jersey.
Wladimir Belli (I), Fassa Bortolo, 30After a year with Festina, Belli returned to an Italian squad last year, and posted his best Giro finish, seventh overall. His main task will be to keep team leader Casagrande at the front in the high mountains, and to mark other race contenders -- work that could also enable Belli to win a stage.
"Chepe" Gonzalez (Col), Mobilvetta-Trentini, 32Two King of the Mountain titles and two mountain
Jeroen Blijlevens (Nl), Lotto-Adecco, 29On his day, Blijlevens is one of the fastest sprinters in the peloton -- and also one of the most unpredictable. With Lotto having no true G.C. candidates, the Dutchman could get the support he needs for a stage win. Mario Cipollini (I), Saeco, 34The flamboyant Cipollini has been around the pro ranks since 1989, but he really caught fire in the late 1990s. In1999, he captured a staggering five Giro and four Tour de France stage wins. A drop-off in production last year
Francesco Casagrande (I), Fassa Bortolo, 30 By most standards, Francesco Casagrande's 2000 season was a hit. He won the prestigious Flèche Wallonne classic, finished the season ranked No. 1 in the world, and took second in the Giro But when your main objective of the season is to win the Giro and that goal slips through your figers on the second-to-last day, it can only be called a disappointment. Pain from a sciatic nerve in the stage-20 time trial cost Casagrande the race in 2000; but with climbers like Belli and Frigo to back him up this year, he'll be out for redemption.
The Giro is a race in touch with history, and its organizers love to use it as a vehicle to mark important dates. Five years ago, for example, they decided to commemorate the centennial of the modern Olympiad by starting the Giro in Athens, Greece, and having the race visit Lausanne, Switzerland, home of today’s Olympic movement. Last year’s event opened at the Vatican, to mark Jubilee Year, the 2000-year celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. And this year, the Giro remembers Italy’s most-loved composer, Giuseppe Verdi, who died 100 years ago. That’s why the course for the 2001 Giro was
The 84th Giro d’Italia route was announced on November 11, and according to Marco Pantani, the 3572km race between Pescara on the eastern coast and Milan promises to be a “wide-open race.” Indeed, many of the stages of the May 19-June 10 race could favor a climber such as Pantani.
The race includes 21 stages, an 8km prologue in Pescara, one rolling 55km time trial in stage 15, a foray into Slovenia, and one rest day before the San Remo-San Remo 17th stage. There are 22 major climbs spread out over 10 of the stages, with the highest being the Colle Fauniera at 2511 meters (8161 feet). Three