Stage 19 :: Friday May 28, 2010
195km :: Brescia - Aprica
Prepare yourselves because chances are, this is the last chance for the remains of the GC hopefuls to really pull out the Buford stick and take it to the head of the pack.
The stage is shaped like a balloon on a string, starting in Brescia and ending in Aprica. There are three summits that give us four climbs on tomorrows stage, looping around from Edolo to Aprica around the back to Sernio, up to Mazzo di Valtellina, through Edolo again and then finishing back in Aprica. The finish is a summit (in Aprica, climbed twice), with a run over Trvigno and the great Passo del Mortirolo.
Brescia is called The Lioness of Italy, which makes me wonder what would happen if Johan Museeuw and Brescia got together. Flandritalian Lion Cubs?
Gavia's A Day Away:
Mountains! I am so excited! The Mortirolo, this thingy is hard. I'm going to hold off on the full preview here, though, and come back in a short while with lots more words about what's coming up in the this Giro. One thing about tomorrow? Weather is supposed to be good. Saturday, it's looking questionable with wind and snow forecast for the Passo di Gavia. The organizers have organized (heh) an alternate route that involves climbing the back side of the Mortirolo, should the weather prove uncooperative. Hopefully, we will need no alternatives. Also, RAI will show the entire stage tomorrow, so if you have the access, you can watch the entire day of racing. More is better! Okay, more words and previewing and silliness in a short while. À Presto!(ed note: I have no idea what's in the water right now, but last night redefined the phrase "Shit Viz." 6PM in the afternoon at 30' it was dark as night in orange water.
Church of Frinkingtology:
I wished I never put on the tv.. First saw an utterly strange sprint in Belgium. Well not strange but with an Armstrong like recovery from Freire who's tire banged just for a 110 degrees corner and after that a doll Giro stage. Hooray!
BUT.. LAdies and Gentleman.
In the left corner, I liked to say blue corner but couldn't find an connection.. Weighing 12600 kilo.. 180 dead tired riders. And may I present you in the right corner, I like to say red here but.. well you know, weighing 10000000 billion thousand kilos the Mortirolo with his partner.. Weighing 99999999 billion thousand kilos the Aprica. We will explain the rules.. There are none.. Everyone who survives may call himself winner. Oh.. Walking is for pussies.. There I said it..
3.... 2.... 1...
And of they go tomorrow.. On a stage I wouldn't dear to send my stepmom to. A piece of cake, well almost to Mother of
GodsMountains Gavia. But what a joy this fight will be. The Aprica isn't that hard with last km's with 3.3% but expected to found dead bodies at the end of the stage. The Mortirolo will do his job. Well... Except for Polish plumbers who know how to handle a job.. And that's also where Basso is praying for.. I'm being repetitive here but Liqui is going to Kaboom everything on the Mortirolo to make it a one man vs eeh mountain stage. So we are going to see a very tactic race.
Caisse is going to send at least 6 man in the breakaway and they are hoping it stuck until the top of the Mortirolo. Only chance to get back on Basso and Evans. Liqui does what they always do, except stage ?o?, and BMC is going to do whatever they can.. Basically nothing, sorry Bookwalter. Others will try to steal the stage. But the GC are going to make it. So Nibali or Basso is the question for the win?
Action: Like Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux or the Ghisallo sector of Lombardia, this stage features one of the holy lands of cycling, the loop over the Mortirolo from/to L'Aprica. Maybe the Giro will have been decided by this point, but this is a day where you watch to appreciate cycling and the Giro absolutely, without reference to who wins and loses.
Pageantry: Mortirolo Day isn't just another Giro slugfest. But it is all about cycling. Expect much talk of the Giro greats who have triumphed here, along with plenty of semi-grainy footage (the climb was first used in 1990). Unfortunately the top has sometimes been called the Cima Pantani, after the guy who set the "record" for fastest ascent.The Plan: Not sure what my travel schedule is at the moment. In other words, it's not too late to rearrange around a viewing window.
We start with more pretty lake stuff. There's an island in that lake that I would expect money shots of during the early coverage.
Not much to see until we get to Edolo and take a sharp turn to the left. Traguardo Volante in "Corteno Golgi" which really, really makes me want Korean BBQ.
The climb to Aprica (1173m) is 13.9km long, rising 485m over that span. The final result is an average gradient of 3.5% with a max of 15%. The riders will be covering this twice.
Through Aprica, they drop around the back of the ridgeline and then start climbing again up to Trivigno (don't mind the screwy mapping there). Trivigno lies at an elevation of 1608m and the climb is 11km long. 831m are climbed in that span averaging 7.6% and maxing out at 14%. There is a super squirrely descent after that with at least 13 switchbacks that I can see.
And then, the Mortirolo: 1854m tall, 12.8km long.
This climb actually rises a greater distance than it's length resulting in an average in excess of 10% over that 13km with a maximum gradient of 18%. Shut up legs!!!
Back to Aprica...
Here are the official materials from La Gazetta:
Here's PodiumCafe's Google Earth map file for the stage.