Stage 11 :: Wednesday May 20, 2009
214km :: Torino to Arenzano
Well, the editorial staff here at PodiumCafe's Los Angeles Office tied one well and truly on last night, so we're not feeling exactly up to snuff.
Truth be told, we're rough around the edges. But neither rain, nor snow, nor Don Julio Añejo will keep the Cafe from it's appointed rounds; tomorrow's rounds being a trip from Torino, home to the 2006 Winter Olympics as well as Ferrari (ok, it's really Fiat) ... (ok, Chrysler) to Arenzano (home to no automaker I'm aware of). Most importantly, this route passes through Castellania, the home town of the immortal Fausto Coppi.
Something about this stage makes me crave Italian food. Arenzano... the name makes me want Eggplant Parmagiana for some reason. Enjoy this tender Giro morsel on the flip...
Gavia! Break it down, homeslice...
The city of Torino hosts the start of Stage 11. The course travels across the flatlands to the Passo del Turchino, then southwest along the Ligurian coast to Arenzano, which sits just outside Genova.
This stage continues the Giro Centenario’s celebration of Italian cycling history. The start city hosts the finish of Milano-Torino, which is one of Italy’s oldest races. The first-running of the one day classic occurred in 1876. Along the way, the course passes through Alessandria. The birthplace of Il Campionissimo, Fausto Coppi, lies just outside Alessandria in the town of Castellania. A Museum of the Campionissimi stands nearby in Novi Ligure. Trivia alert: Costante Girardengo was the first rider to be referred to as “Campionissimo.”
The stage also pays tribute to the Spring classic, Milano-Sanremo, the traditional start to the Italian cycling season. The Passo del Turchino is one of the iconic climbs in La Primavera. These days, the Passo del Turchino does not do much to influence the race outcome, but in the early editions of Milano-Sanremo, it saw more than one race-winning move. In 1948, Fausto Coppi, returned from his two years as a prisoner of war, attacked on the Passo del Turchino, passing alone into the light from the 50 meter tunnel at the summit. Coppi survived the 147 kilometers to Sanremo and celebrated a solo victory, a symbol of Italy’s rebirth from the years of war. “The people, tested by war, found again their hope,” wrote Gazzetta dello Sport. Sanremo lies to the Southwest of the Passo del Turchino. This Giro stage stops well short of Sanremo, finishing in Arenzano, just 20 kilometers from the summit of the Passo del Turchino.
(Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 11 Preview at Steephill.tv)
So there you have it... I left some melanzane in the Scuderia for you Gav.
We start in the belly of Italy and proceed down to the upper front of the boot at the northern most point on Italy's Mediterranean coast.
Just like Gav said. Flat. Flat, flat, flat, flat to start with.
There is this interesting bit in the town of Asti. I have no idea if that's a Piazza or a flea market or something...
The terrain continues to be flat for the most part with little hills and rolling bits as the course moves through Alessandria and to the Capuccino station at Tortona.
Then we take a deviation to the east from the main Strada Statale per Genova, over to Castellania.
Let us take a moment to appreciate the home of one of the God's of Cycling.
And now moving right along down southward through the valley to the intermediate sprint at Ovada. While the Passo del Turchino climb doesn't officially start until Masone, the road does start bending up right in Ovada.
The Passo del Turchino at 532m is 8.4km long rising a mere 187m over an average gradient of 2.2% with a max of 7%. Peanuts.
The descent is somewhat of a cliff-face though, you go down to sea level pretty darn fast.
And finally finish just west of Genoa in Arenzano.
A copy of the Google Earth file used to create these images is available for download here.