Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Giro d'Italia

Coming up at the Giro: Alps on the horizon

After the Giro d’Italia’s second long transfer, this one taking therace from Pescara on Italy’s east coast to Pisa on the west, riders wereusing the rest day in Tuscany to scout out Thursday’s time trial courseand take stock of the race before heading into the upcoming week of climbsand more climbs. Stage 11 is a Tour de France-style time trial on a completelyflat 50km circuit around the Arno Valley between Pontedera and Pisa. JanUllrich scouted the course during an April training camp and likes it alot: “Flat and straight — perfect!” Race leader Ivan Basso predicts thatUllrich will ride a

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

While some dread the road ahead, the climbers can’t wait

By John Wilcockson

Will Basso be as happy in the Alps?

Will Basso be as happy in the Alps?

Photo:

After the Giro d’Italia’s second long transfer, this one taking therace from Pescara on Italy’s east coast to Pisa on the west, riders wereusing the rest day in Tuscany to scout out Thursday’s time trial courseand take stock of the race before heading into the upcoming week of climbsand more climbs.

Stage 11 is a Tour de France-style time trial on a completelyflat 50km circuit around the Arno Valley between Pontedera and Pisa. JanUllrich scouted the course during an April training camp and likes it alot: “Flat and straight — perfect!” Race leader Ivan Basso predicts thatUllrich will ride a strong time trial, as well as the German’s T-Mobileteammates Michael Rogers and Sergei Gontchar who rode so strongly in lastThursday’s team time trial.

But in terms of GC the real story is Ivan Basso, whose main challengerin the time trial is likely to be current runner-up José Gutierrezof Phonak rather than defending champion Paolo Savoldelli of DiscoveryChannel. Gutierrez, who was fourth in last month’s Tour de Georgia, sayshe is determined to win for the sixth time in his career. Gutierrez, Bassoand Savoldelli might take several minutes out of the other GC challengers— and true climbers — Damiano Cunego of Lampre-Fondital, Gilberto Simoniof Saunier Duval-Prodir and Jose Rujano of Selle Italia; only Danilo DiLuca of Liquigas might get closer.

Cunego’s and Simoni’s likely handicaps on Basso should lead to a pitchedbattle in the second half of the Giro that is made up of perhaps the mostchallenging menu of climbs the Giro has ever included. Here are the highlightsof the upcoming week:

Stage 12 Not a mountain stage, but after a completely flat opening100km to La Spezia, the stage heads to the cliffs of the famed Cinque Terracoastline, with hundreds of twists and turns — and three significant climbs.The last of these, the Valico Guaitarola, climbs 2000 feet in 9.5km atan average of 6.4 percent and tops out with 24km to go, more than halfof that downhill, into the finish on the coast at Sestri Levante. An earlybreak (perhaps with Quick Step’s Paolo Bettini finally taking the stagewin) should be able to stay clear, but there could be a flexing of musclesbetween the GC men on the last climb as a precursor to the stages comingup on the weekend.

Stage 13 After a long transfer from the coast to the Turin region,the field will head into the Val d’Aosta on this 218km stage, which hasan unpleasant sting in the tail. The 10.5km Colle San Carlo averages almost10 percent (with a maximum pitch of 15 percent), tops out at 6400 feetand is followed by an 8km drop into the finish at La Thuile, not far fromthe French border. It’s the type of finale that should showcase the outrageousdescending skills of Savoldelli, but will he be able to stay with Basso,Cunego, Simoni and Gutierrez on the very tough uphill?

Stage 14 This 218km stage has received scant publicity in a racethat contains so many mountains, but in other times it would be classifiedas one of the more challenging. After crossing the Great St, Bernard Pass(via the tunnel just under the summit), the stage descends into Switzerlandfor a long run up the Rhône Valley to Brig, where the riders facethe well-engineered but difficult Simplon Pass. This climbs for 20km at6.6 percent, with a maximum pitch of 12 percent. The summit may be 46kmfrom the finish — but more than 40km of that is fast downhill. Once again,an early break has a chance of surviving.

Stage 15 On a flat run across the plains of Lombardy north ofMilan, this 189km stage is one for the sprinters. With Robbie McEwen outof the race, can Tomas Vaitkus of AG2R prove that his stage 9 victory wasn’ta fluke, or will Olaf Pollack of T-Mobile finally clinch a big win in Brescia?

Stage 16 This 173km stage ends with the fearsome climb to MonteBondone, where 50 years ago Luxembourg’s Charly Gaul scored his legendaryvictory in a snowstorm that gave him the overall victory. The Bondone startswith a 13-percent pitch straight out of the streets of Trento and averages8 percent for 17.5km. This is a summit finish that probably suits Basso’sstrengths rather than those of Simoni and Cunego. However, Simoni is onhome territory here and he says he wants to win. He certainly knows theclimb like the back of his hand and he’ll have huge support from his Trentinofans, so perhaps he’ll pull off of a big upset and put himself back incontention.

Stage 17

Stage 17

Photo:

Stage 17 This is one of the toughest days of the Giro, with 11,000feet of climbing in 133km, with two giant climbs in the final 50km: therugged Passo del Erbe and a summit finish on the mighty Plan de Corones.This 17km final climb averages 7.5 percent and its final 5.25km are ona reconstructed dirt road (see IgorTavella’s photos) that has one stretch zooming skyward at 24 percent!If Basso is going to crack, then this is where it will be, should Cunego,Simoni, Rujano and company prove strong enough to launch their sharp accelerationson the difficult finale.

We’ll review the final four stages of this 92nd Giro d’Italia next Wednesday.

SUMMARY OF 89TH GIRO D’ITALIA
May 6 Stage 1 Seraing (B) TT 6.2km
Winner: Savoldelli; GC: Savoldelli
May 7 Stage 2 Mons (B)—Charleroi-Marcinelle (B) 197km
Winner: McEwen; GC: Savoldelli
May 8 Stage 3 Perwez (B)—Namur (B) 202km
Winner: Schumacher; GC: Schumacher
May 9 Stage 4 Wanze (B)—Hotton (B) 193km
Winner: McEwen; GC: Schumacher

May 10 Transfer and rest day

May 11 Stage 5 Piacenza—Cremona TTT 38km
Winner: Team CSC; GC: Gontchar
May 12 Stage 6 Busseto—Forli 227km
Winner: McEwen; GC: Pollack
May 13 Stage 7 May 13 Cesena—Saltara 236km
Winner: Verbrugghe; GC: Gontchar
May 14 Stage 8 Civitanova Marche—Maielletta (Passo Lanciano)171km
Winner: Basso; GC: Basso
May 15 Stage 9 Francavilla al Mare—Termoli 127km
Winner: Vaitkus; GC: Basso
May 16 Stage 10 Termoli—Peschici 187km
Winner: Pellizotti; GC: Basso

May 17 Transfer and rest day

May 18 Stage 11 Pontedera—Pontedera TT 50km
May 19 Stage 12 Livorno—Sestri Levante 171km
May 20 Stage 13 Alessandria—La Thuile 218km
May 21 Stage 14 Aosta—Domodossola 223km
May 22 Stage 15 Mergozzo—Brescia 189km
May 23 Stage 16 Rovato—Trento (Monte Bondone) 173km
May 24 Stage 17 Termeno—Plan de Corones 133km

May 25 Stage 18 Sillian (A)—Gemona del Friuli 210km
May 26 Stage 19 Pordenone—Passo di San Pellegrino 224km
May 27 Stage 20 Trento—Aprica 211km
May 28 Stage 21 Ghisallo—Milan 140km

TOTAL DISTANCE: 3526.2km

Photo Gallery