The weekend will be busy, Mother's Day and all, not to mention a tad convoluted. I'm hoping I know how to properly launch live chats for tomorrow's kickoff, supposedly at either 6am or 8am (check Cycling.TV). Sunday there's no live feed, just the taped Versus coverage, so we'll have an open thread and people can get as excited as they want. A peek at the stages:
Saturday, Palermo TTT, 23km
Jered made an interesting point in his Pez Preview the other day about how CSC could look back on last year's team time trial in Sardinia and lament losing the Giro: their team deficit to Liquigas was about the same as Andy Schleck's final deficit to Danilo DiLuca. While CSC looks set to make amends, it's too late. Check out this video from GazzettaTV: this course is nothing like the technical TTT they ran in 2007; it's flat, wide boulevards across Palermo and back. Gaps should be minimal for any team that stays on their bikes.
Time for the little teams to make amends. While the TTT tends to favor the powerful, this stage across Sicily's spine will make for ideal escaping conditions. Any team with GC ambitions will be loathe to defend the jersey this early anyway... though if High Road or Slipstream wins the TTT, they might defend for a day or two. I don't know all of Sicily, but my memories are of rolling terrain, not massive climbs, at least in the latter half of the stage. But this is no sprinters' event; Agrigento is a medium-sized city on a hilltop, and there will be no shortage of climber types attacking for the win. Should be a really beautiful one to watch, if Versus doesn't butcher the video too badly.