Stage 9 :: Sunday May 17, 2009
165km :: 10 Laps of Milano
The greatest show on two wheels (certainly the prettiest) heads into the traditional finish of the Giro about 12 stages earlier than usual to put on what promises to be some fantastic racing.
10 laps around the center of town, taking in the sights with loads of corners, some sweeping turns, some nasty, nasty tight curves and a nice long finishing straight. I can only hope that they will have a tracking camera set up on the Corso Venezia that moves at the speed of the riders for the finish as they do on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées on the last stage of le Tour.
The inestimable Gavia di Passo has some information for us. So let us sit in our desks, grab our milk cartons and cookies and see what she says...
Stage 9 celebrates the central role of Milano in the Giro’s history. The first Giro departed from this Northern city in 1909. Dario Beni out-sprinted two other riders to win the first stage, a 397 kilometer jaunt from Milano to Bologna. Beni averaged 28 kilometers/hour, and spent 14 hours on the bike. The first Giro visited Chieti, Napoli, Roma, Firenze, Genova, and Torino, before returning to Milano for the final stage. Beni again celebrated victory in the final stage from Torino to Milano. The race organizers used a point system to determine the overall winner, and the victory went to 26 year old Luigi Ganna from Varese. Ganna rode for the Atala team.
Since 1909, the Giro has arrived in Milano on 81 occasions. Sprinter Mario Cipollini holds the record for most victories with five. Alfredo Binda and Alessandro Petacchi are currently tied with three each. The Giro Centenario offers Petacchi a chance to surpass Binda.
(Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 9 Preview at Steephill.tv)
Unfortunately, Google Earth doesn't handle things like this too well, so I took a couple of satellite shots for you, did some tilty stuff, but pretty much, just outlined the course in pink.
The course runs clockwise around the town (generally). The start and stop are the traditional icons, as is the feed zone (fuerza capuccino!), and the course moves around the numbers from 1 to 7. The finish line, just like any ol' criterium, also serves as the intermediate sprint point where I can only imagine the riders will win fantastic preems like free Starbuck's gift cards, "I raced in Milan and all I won was this lousy t-shirt" shirts, a 10 pack of free oil changes and probably a couple of 100€ prizes. I doubt they'll even have a couple of free tickets to La Scala.
Anyway... here's the photos (and here's a link to the map on Gazzetta's page that looks a little more clean.)
A copy of the Google Earth file used to create these images is available for download here.