Stage 16 :: Tuesday May 25, 2010
12.9km :: Plan de Corones (ITT)
Plan de Corones: 2273m. 12.9km long rising 1086m over that span. The average gradient is 8.4%.
The maximum gradient is 24%.
This is brutal territory; this is the sort of time trial reserved for the professionals... athletes able to measure their power output in four digit wattages. This is the sort of stage that makes Cavendish weep and Jens! grin wolfishly. This is ultimately a test of the will. (Not that Will. Moo.)
Gavia ain't surfing today:
This thing is stupid steep. The steepest section of the climb come near the top after the pavement ends. No, that's not a misprint. The maximum gradient is actually 24%. It's a tricky business to balance a bike on a steep gravel road. No doubt the riders who want to go well will have done their homework. Pity the sprinters, who have to somehow finish it.
The general classification riders have a big day out on Tuesday, and much will depend on how they spent the rest day. Though fatigue is accumulating from the past days of racing, too little effort on the rest day will make for crap legs in this crucial time trial. At least, they needn't worry about the weather. Forecasts call for sun.
These short uphill time trials are a tricky business and not every rider handles them well. It's an exposive effort, which differs rather significantly from attacking a climb after six hours of racing. Still, we can expect the climby guys to have the most fun with this race. The Italian riders continue to tout Michele Scarponi as one of the strongest climbers in the race. Maybe this one will come his way, though he couldn't stay with Basso or Evans on the Zoncolan. Evans has the power and grinta to go well on this climb, but so too do most of the top climbers in the classification. Basso, Evans, Cunego, Scarponi, possibly Garzelli, maybe Nibali. Long-shot nods to Mollema, Serpa, and Moncoutié.
Frinking's beside himself:
KROHNPLATZ! Holy mountain. We all hail you.. A men to mountain knock out.. Who survives.. How many break.. How many will see de man met de hamer? A loooot! LAst time the CTT caused casualties.. Was also the last? time Simoni was on a podium.. How cool would it be if he was again on the podium?! Serious heavy cool.. So. What are we going to see.. Suffering with an unexpected winner... Moncoutie! (Not that unexpected) And Porte.. Is he still in pink? Voigt rode top 5 last year.. Porte can also fly up due the pink jersey.
Action: Needs little introduction. This is a replay of the 2008 ITT on the same terrain, "won" by Franco Pellizotti. Some riders excel more over this kind of terrain in a mass-start than in a time trial (see Basso, Ivan) and not everyone likes this kind of effort without a couple hours of actual racing to warm up. But for the most part the guys from Sunday will be poised to extend their leads.
Pageantry: Still all business. Maybe they can get Pellizotti in the booth to help with the call. That'd be great for ratings.The Plan: Here is where things get complicated. This day marks the start of a three-day conference with co-workers, including a couple guys in the management chain who are huge cycling fans (hi guys). Worse, it's on the east coast, which means the timing doesn't work with the business day. The only way to watch it live is to skip part of the conference -- emergency call in my room, anyone? -- but this won't go over well if the other cycling nuts are sitting there suffering and notice me missing. My only hope is to make them accomplices in any plan, or to schedule the evening around the rebroadcast and go into full media blackout -- including phone service -- for about 10 hours. The latter seems likely. Seriously, don't even think of texting me for anything less than a life-or-death matter.
Oops. It would appear that I forgot to uncheck the "don't include size attributes" box when I was uploading the Google Earth pictures.
Here are the official materials from La Gazetta:
Here's PodiumCafe's Google Earth map file for Stage 16.