Stage 11 :: Wednesday May 19, 2010
256km :: Lucera - L'Aquila
Kind of a somber stage up ahead. We're going to be heading into Abruzzo, the region that was absolutely devastated by an earthquake little more than a year and one month ago. Being a native Californian, my heart goes out to the families, some of which are most likely still working to recover from the after effects.
Sad tidings aside, this should be a sweet stage. Rolling, climby, with a gorgeous finish. Three rated climgs along the way and a northward bend to the course that can mean only one thing: we're finally pointed towards the alps. They may still be about a week away, but we're not going to the south anymore.
The surf report is totally irrelevent today, because the south wind is howling here. Bah wind!
This stage from Lucero to l'Aquila is a bumpy affair with three categorized climbs and almost no flat riding. What, no flats? That's just cruel. Yes, it's a cruel world, I'm afraid and this stage runs all up and down to the finish. We're in the bumpy Abruzzo region of Italy, in the neighborhood of the Blockhaus climb used in last year's edition of the race. From Lucero, the course heads almost directly north against the grain of the mountainous terrain.
It's nice territory for a breakaway, and the general classification riders may prove content to let a group go up the road and stay there. The first climb arrives at kilometer 136. The Rionnaro Sannitico climbs around 10 kilometers with an average gradient of 6.3%. Twenty kilometers later, it's the Roccaraso, which is also around 10 kilometers in length, but less steep. The Capo de Valle provides the final categorized climb of the day at kilometer 208 with 8.6 kilometers of climbing at 6%. The final kilometers climb, then descent quickly, then climb again to the finish. It's a tricky finish that should make for an exciting finale.
Riders to watch here? Stefano Garzelli will like the terrain here. So will Damiano Cunego. Much depends on how the general classification teams decide to play this stage. If they let a long break go, well, who knows who will make the break and win? All the more reason to watch this one. This stage is classic hilly Italian racing. Vive il Giro!
ed: I took some words and crammed them through Google Translate. First I went from English to Dutch, then Dutch to Italian, then Italian to Spanish, and finally from Spanish back into English. This is the result:
Unfortunately, it seems that Frinking no time to preview it in writing today. So, meanwhile, look at this picture of kittens.
Action: Pure survival mode. Remember how you felt when you rode your first century, around mile 75? That should capture the mood of the peloton, even before we add in spring weather in the Appennines.
Pageantry: Decidedly somber. L'Aquila was added as a finishing town out of sympathy for the victims of the terrible earthquake that devastated the region just over a year ago, killing 300 people and toppling thousands of old buildings. Reconstruction has been slow and painful, to put it superficially. And turning to cycling won't lift up many spirits either: last time the Giro came to town, local hero Danilo DiLuca won the stage. This day can't end fast enough, for anyone. [And by the way, was there a conscious effort to make tragedy the theme of this entire Giro? Just asking.]The Plan: This day has "telecommute" written all over it. L'Aquila is the other family connection, just a few km from Fontecchio as well as our actual family village, Capestrano. I'll be glued for the coverage, and need at least a few hours to recover, emotionally.
So, not much to see initially, beyond the fact that we are striding right up the middle of the boot. In fact, there aren't any real fireworks until we pass through the town of Bojano, where the first feed zone is tomorrow.
Then, we hit the first two climbs, almost back to back. Separated by 20km, are the Rionero Sannitico and the Roccaraso
- Rionero Sannitico 1051m. 10km long rising 630m, which, obviously averages out to 6.3% with a max at 10%. It occurs 125km from the finish.
- Roccaraso 1247m. Coming 105km from the finish, this climb is similar to the Sannitico at 9.5km long rising 450m, averaging 4.7% and maxing at 10%.
We'll pass through the second Rifornimento in Sulmona and then tackle the Capo di Valle at 45km from the finish. The Capo di Valle is 746m in elevation rising 497m over 8.6km. It averages 5.8% and maxes at 10%.
Finally, there appears to be a bit of a twisting rise to the finish. Not a summit finish per say, but decidedly a non-flat one.
Here are the official materials from La Gazetta:
Here's PodiumCafe's Google Earth map file for Stage 10.