Stage 13 :: Friday May 22, 2009
176km :: Lido di Camaiore - Firenze
Remember how that time trial was un-flat and devoid of flatness? Well, they sucked all the flat out of the Cinque Terre and injected it into stage 13. There's a couple of hiccups along the way, one of which is even listed as a rated climb, but I think that's a crock.
This age-stey is el panqueque de dulce de leche. Sweet and flat. Leadouts and a bunch sprint, boy-o, and not a single thing changing GC wise.
Will this propel Di Luca out of the Ciclamina? My Editors' Liga team says "please god no!", I need all the points I can get. Is your money on Cavendish, %$#@!, or a breakaway artiste?
What evil lurks in the heart of this stage? Only Lamont Cranston knows. Well, him and Gav...
After the drama of the Cinque Terre time trial, few in the Giro bunch will be sorry to see this day of flat racing. With this stage, the Giro Centenario visits Toscana. Toscana is the home region of Mario Cipollini and Paolo Bettini, among others, and passion for cycling runs deep.
The stage begins in Lido di Camaiore. Camaiore served as a stage stop on the Roman road and grew in importance as a stop on the road to France during the Middle Ages. Unlike Cinque Terre, where the cliffs dive into the sea, the hills sit back from the coast, and wide expanses of sandy beaches meet the Ligurian Sea. The course lingers along the coast, savoring the view, and heads North, before turning inland and doubling back on itself.
After approximately 60 kilometers of racing, the course passes Camaiore for the second time, then tracks southeast. The Giro pays a flying visit to city of Lucca. No time to visit the walled mediaeval city, as the bunch speeds southward passing through Altopascio and Santa Croce sull-Arno in the province of Pisa. At Santa Croce sull’Arno, the course makes a left turn, heading east to finish in Firenze, a frequent host to the Giro d’Italia. The Giro last visited Firenze in 2005 for a time trial, and American David Zabriskie celebrated the stage win.
(Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 13 Preview at Steephill.tv)
Thanks Gav... I saved some gelato for you in the freezer.
We're starting north westish of Pisa, home of a certain out-of-plumb Campanile, in Lido di Camaiore, doing a clockwise circuit of the local marinas, then heading south east to Firenze
To paraphrase something tedvdw said, "not only is this stage flat, but also flat". Admittedly, this first 60k is all along the coast, so not much to be had there.
After completing our beach circuit, we run inland to Camaiore, which is the start of the "rated" climb up to Montemagno at 212m. The climb from Camaiore is 3.3km rising 130m in elevation over an average gradient of 4.2% with a surprising max of 7%. My guess is that the 7% they mention is something they'll be bunny hopping over.
Down hill now, such as it is, to San Martino di Freddana and on to other parts most glorious.
As Gav mentioned above, il percorso passes by the walled city of Lucca, but doesn't enter. I thought this was a pretty cool satellite photo of it.
Now through Cappanori (I believe that's Italian for "cucumber which is wrapped in seaweed") and into the Biscotti zone in Altopascio.
Then, surprisingly, more flatness ensues...
The day of Flaty McFlatenstein ends with a rather sharp zigzagging finish on the outskirts of Florence. Will there be a rider protest at having to make three 90° turns on the run into the finish? Will they cross tram tracks? Will there be parked cars?
I hope the racers enjoyed their day of rest in the saddle. Tomorrow it gets all climby again.
A copy of the Google Earth file used to create these images is available for download here.