Yesterday started out at the glamorous end of the Italian auto-industry, beside the Ferrari test track at Mugello. Today’s time trial begins in Pontedera, home of a much more humble company, Pioggia, makers of the Vespa, and its utilitarian big brother (and a secret favourite of mine) the Ape. From there they head north to Bientina, then east to the finish at S. Maria a Monte, a small volcanic outcrop that the Florentines (who else) annexed and surrounded with walls to protect their western flank. Nowadays the annual cultural highlight is August’s "Sagra della Patata Fritta," the festival of the fried potato. I kid you not. The course is for the most part flat or not noticeably uphill untill the last seven hundred metres which have an average gradient of 4.5% and look very tight and twisty.
This is a lot longer than the prologue, so the TT specialists should be able to get a bit of time over the sprinters digging in extra deep. It could well be another Cervelo 1-2, with Armstrong and Pooley, but expect Noemi Cantele to show off her new Italian champ jersey. They start at 11:45 and leave at one minute intervals . If conditions are good the winner will get round in about 20 minutes.
Rai Sport Piu will have half an hour of coverage at 17:00 local time.