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Giro d'Italia Stage 2... LIVE!

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Today's stage, a 154km jaunt from Jesolo to Trieste, is one of the few sprinters' stages out there. Basically, it's not very hard: 100km of flat, followed by a couple short climbs, including one -- Montebello -- on the 10km closing circuit that the race traverses three times before stopping in Trieste. The climb could launch some late breakaways, but if we've seen Columbia excel at anything, it's reeling in breaks on a not-terribly-difficult day of racing. So a sprint is likely, if never quite guaranteed.

One note about the locale... there is a very touching scene in the Buzzati book about the Giro's return to Trieste in 1949. The city had been annexed by the Nazis in 1943, and was home to Italy's only concentration camp, which is maybe all you need to know about those years. Anyway, Trieste suffered terribly in the waning years of the war. But in 1947 Allied forces created the Free Territory of Trieste as an independent entity (which lasted seven years before it became Italian again). When the Giro rolled through in 1949, Buzzati writes that it was as if the homeland was reconnecting with a lost city, a sign that Trieste's nightmare was finally over. I mention this because it's a moving story, and because it's a reminder that these grand tours are part bike race, part national connection and celebration. It's not just the Giro coming here, it's Italy.

Happy Mother's Day, and enjoy the stage!