First off, major hat tip to Pez: it looks like their sources were pretty good. And as to the Giro 2008 percorso itself... whoa. I'm at home where my graphics editing is too limited for posting, but this full profile tells the story. If you can't climb your ass off, you haven't got a prayer. [Sorry Killer.]
- The headlines will mention the four time trials, but this is Chronoman's pyrite: one short course, one team time trial, one uphill drag, and one ridiculous climb. None of these should have the ITT guys licking their lips.
- The real headliner is stage 16: 13km up the Plan de Corones. Last year the climb was on the list before a late weather scratch, and VN had a nice spread on the section of road that touches 24% (not a typo). You think Marzio Bruseghin is priming his ITT rig for this? Good god...
- Riders will not exactly arrive at the starthouse in ideal condition, with a brutish Stage 15 the day before: 6 climbs in 153km, including the Pordoi, San Pellegrino and Giau passes leading up to the finish at Dolomiti Stars.
- In a sense this is a climber's greatest hits Giro: the other days to circle are stages 19 and 20, two stages of non-stop climbing each in the 220+km range. Stage 19 is likely to be more decisive, finishing with a long climb up to Monte Pora (which doesn't ring a bell for me), while stage 20 is simply a classic: the Gavia, Mortirolo and Aprica climbs before a downhill finish.
- I guess Alessandro Petacchi's inhaler saga didn't endear him to Giro organizers: there are exactly five sprinters' stages, plus four others around Mezzogiorno where some sort of bunch arrival can't be ruled out, depending on the pace. The maglia ciclamena is clearly Bettini's to lose.
Your impressions? Favorite stages? Favorites to win??