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Il Giro: Mountain Goats' Delight!

This is a rerun, albeit in a new post so the comments can start fresh. It'd be nice to kick off the Giro coverage with a course review, but we did that already in December. What can I say, if kicking off our Giro coverage 5 months too soon is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

La Gazzetta dello Sport has most of the resources you need to review the course. For the climbs, click on salite. Maybe time will prove me wrong, but these are the places I suspect the race will be won. The time trials don't look decisive IMHO; the TTT and final-day ITT are short and in the latter case downhill. The deficits could swell, but chances are they won't. The Pesaro-Urbino ITT looks like a power course for the ITT guys, but still only 36km. And the Plan de Corones time trial... it's hard to tell who it doesn't disfavor. Anyway, here's the lovely course map:

And the Plan de Corones inset, just for kicks:

The Giro, typically, groups the decisive stages in two main sets. The first includes the Corones ITT and the two big road stages leading up to it. As bad as that time trial looks, the previous two days will make sure nobody's feeling fresh when they hit the starthouse that day:

With the caveat that all of the following assume the 2008 Giro will use the same ascents as have been used in the past 5 years, and not a different route, here are your key stats:

  • Passo Manghen: 23.5km at 7% avg, max 15%. Warmed up yet?
  • Alpe di Pampeago: 8.9km at 9.5%.
  • Passo Pordoi: 11.8km at 6.6%, max 10%.
  • Passo San Pellegrino: It's the other side from what was used recently: 11.8km, 6.4% avg, max 14%.
  • Passo Giau: 9.8km at 9.4%, max 14% and absolutely no breaks.
  • Passo Falzarego: 16km at 5.5%.
  • Passo Fedaia: 13.3km at 8%, max 18% and again, no easy portions.
  • Plan de Corones: 16.9km at 7.5%, max 24% and a few other ramps in the 20% range.

As for the final week's fun...

Interesting arrangement; stage 19 doesn't look as spectacular as the following day, and presumably riders will want to manage their output carefully. But stage 20, for all its Cima Coppi glory, has a ton of descending. Anyway...

  • Passo Vivione: 19km at 7%, 13% max.
  • Presolana: 7.9km at 6.9%, 16% max.
  • Passo Gavia: 16.5km at 8%, 16% max.
  • Passo Mortirolo: the killer... 12.8km at an unrelenting 10.3%, max 13%
  • Aprica: the aperitif...15km at 5%, 9% max.

If anyone thinks this will be dull, you're on the wrong website.