Stage 18 :: Thursday May 28, 2009
182km :: Sulmona - Benevento
A stage for the sprinters or the breakaway tomorrow with only a little bit of a climb at the very beginning.
There's not much to be said, at least by me, about this stage, so I'll just bypass the preamble, and give y'all a space to consider if this stage will allow sufficient recovery by Menchov, Di Luca and Sastre to allow some sort of magma displacement on Vesuvio the day after tomorrow.
Gavia, please, spare me having to type much...
The Giro travels into the interior today and begins in Sulmona 60 kilometers from the Adriatic coast. Situated in a prehistoric riverbed, Sulmona sits in the shadow of the Maiella mountain range which stands east of the city and hosted the finish of stage 17. From the start, the course heads south, tracing a wandering path through the Appenino that avoids significant climbing. There is an early climb over the Piano delle Cinque Miglia, then it’s a bumpy ride to the finish. The stage ends in the city of Benevento in Campania. There is a brief circuit in Benevento.
The start city of Sulmona traces its history to antiquity and legend has it that the city bears the name of a companion to Aneas. The Roman poet Ovid, best known for Metamorphosis, was born in Sulmona. This is earthquake country, and in 1706, much of the city, then known as the “Sienna of Abruzzo,” was destroyed. Nearly 1/4 of the population was killed in the disaster. Some important buildings from antiquity and the middle ages nonetheless survived, including a Roman aqueduct.
On a much lighter note, Sulmona is known for producing sugared almonds, called Confetti. Built into fanciful shapes, the candy serves as a festive gift for birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations. Fertile soil surrounds the city and Sulmona enjoys a rich harvest of wine and corn. The Giro has frequently visited Sulmono. Ezio Corlaita, Giovanni Brunero, and Alfredo Binda are among the riders who have celebrated victory in Sulmona.
(Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 18 Preview at Steephill.tv)
Thanks Gavia, I'll lift a cup to your efforts and whoever invented CTRL+C and CTRL+V!
Here we are... moving down the boot.
You can see the heel and toe stretching out into the Med and the Adriatic on the left.
A quick uphill start again... up to the summit of Piano Delle Cinque Miglia at 1277m. It's a 15.4km climb rising 708m in elevation at 4.6% with a max of 9%. Not exactly trivial.
Down, down, down to the fine Barristas at I Quattro Venti...
The race organizers took pity on the riders for this stage. If you look at the course, it nips at Piedimonte Matese, then continues onward. This is the actual stage...
This is the route it COULD have taken...
Anyway, down, down down to Benevento, through the Intermediate Sprint at Telese Terme.
The finish in Benevento is actually a two lap circuit (I think). But I couldn't discern the actual street routing from the time table, so I just ended it in the heart of town.
A copy of the Google Earth file used to create these images is available for download here.