With all due respect to the action in Poland and Burgos, the best action over the weekend will probably be a classics-style dogfight on the Tuscan coast, home to the 60th GP Citta di Camaiore. The race is 188km of a figure-eight circuit starting with a parade to/along the Lido in Alessandro Petacchi's hometown, but after this the race engages its distinguishing feature, a 26km loop east of the beach that crosses Monte Pitoro six times before the conclusion. This 2.8km rise tends to shed the sprinters on slopes averaging 7.1% and peaking at 9.4% near the summit. There's a short drop, then another rise, then a 6.2km mini-bomb to a flat last few meters at the line. In other words, the race favors... wait for it... climbers who can sprint! [And descend a little.]
Last year's affair was a watered-down field, coming as it did within several hours of the Olympic Road Race in Beijing, but the 2007 edition saw some of the regulars from the Italian climbing/classics circuit -- Bosisio, Sella, Ignatiev, Pozzato -- chasing winner Fortunato Baliani. This year's event should be superior, if the startlist is any indicator:
- Serramenti will sport 2008 winner Leonardo Bertagnolli, Michele Scarponi and Gibo Simoni;
- Liquigas headliners are Vincenzo Nibali, whose descending might give him a real chance, and Daniele Bennati in case of a bunch finish;
- Notable Italians include ISD's Giovanni Visconti, Lpr's duo of Bosisio and Daniele Pietropolli, CSF's Pozzovivo and Baliani, and at least one of the flying Masciarellis.
- Oh, and Daryl Impey makes his return from his wrestling bout with Theo Bos.
Should be fun. Hopefully a live stream will show up out of nowhere, as if by magic. Am not seeing any indication at Steephill.tv, so Cyclingfans.com might be a better bet.