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Giro Stage 07 Preview: Carrara - Montalcino

Stage 07 :: Saturday May 15, 2010
215km :: Carrara - Montalcino

If Saturday's stage doesn't smell like oregano and put you in mind of equilibrium challenged towers, then you're watching the wrong race.  We're going into Tuscany, my friends, within bottle-hurling (or bike hurling if you're Mr. Millar) distance of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and through country side that I suspect may look like it was deep fried to a tasty golden color mixed with rolling green hills. (I didn't say you couldn't get your shirt deep fried, Homer!)

Three climbs on tomorrow's stage, including the nasty little Poggio Civitella about 5km from the finish.  Good times, good times.  The usual suspects below the fold...

Gavia's input:

Friday is looking like a surf day…but if you are looking for bigger surf you will need to hit up a S-facing beach (with no islands in the way).

We will see our new S-SSW swell (180-200) filling in fast on Friday…with the peak of the swell starting to hit later in the afternoon and holding overnight into Saturday. Small NW windswell will run in the background but don’t expect it to amount to very much. Check out the swell and how it fills in throughout the day…

ed: looking at the swell map, I for one, am glad I'm not diving San Clemente this weekend.

Yes, you are very glad you aren't going boating in the channel this weekend. Stupid islands!


Saturday's stage 7 offers a bumpy ride through the countryside of Toscana between Carrara and Montalcini. The stage runs south along the coast, passing through Lido di Camaioro, which hosted a Giro stage last year. Then, it turns inland, waves to the leaning tower, and traverses the vineyard lands of Toscana. Montalcini, yes, I would like some of that Brunello, thanks.

Three categorized climbs decorate the profile, and they all come late in the stage. The first 100 kilometers are mostly flat. The first climb comes around kilometer 117 and offers just over 200 meters of uphill racing. From there, the road never really lies flat again, and it's up and down until the Passo del Rospatolo at kilometer 180. The final climb of the day, the Poggio di Civeletta, covers 12.6 kilometers,and hits a maximum gradient of 16%. Owwee. Then, it's a fast 5 kilometer drop to the finish in Montalcini. For added entertainment, the stage also passes over the white gravel roads, Strade Bianchi, made famous in the Monte Paschi Eroica race.

The general classification riders have to wake up and pay attention on this stage, as the final climb should open up some gaps in the field. The finish favors the classics rider type. Do I dare mention Damiano Cunego here? Well, I dare, but I probably also just jinxed the little dude. This stage could well be a day for a long break to survive, while the general classification teams wait for the finale to play their game.

This is classic Italian racing, and a stage worth waking up early for. Beautiful scenery, gravel roads, and a hard finish. Set your coffee makers, kids!

Facepalm Corner:

Still in shock of the Vagina we passed yesterday (ed: see Ted's entry here to understand why Frinky just said that).. And Phil getting... Ah well.. Tomorrow's stage.. We've seen the stronger sprinters today or did we again see a breakaway? Naaah. It's a save bet Petacchi has won.

Today.. Exciting.. Because the finish is haaard. Some GC man, I'm pointing to you Garzelli.. Just to prove Um wrong, has to get back their first seconds. Perfectly suitable course for him. Also Evans can secure some bonifications (: here. Basso has to watch out he isnt surpassed by 'some sprinting cows. Other pink leader is my predictions..


Chris's Copy:

Action: A true transitional stage, where the last 100km are ripe for mayhem. If a breakaway doesn't survive, it'll be because an elite group of stage-hunting climber types chased them down. The big names will keep their powder dry for Sunday's epic, but for racing purists this should be good fun.

Pageantry: Nothing special, just a long day at the office interspersed with some wine tasting.

The Plan: Woops, looks like the umpire strike hasn't been settled yet. Well, unless mia moglie is willing to take DS Littler Bear to tee-ball to watch his brother.

So, we start out heading directly to the beach, not even 15km from where the stage ended last night (so no complaining about the transfers guys), and then heading along the Mediterranean coast to Viareggio, before going inland and passing very close to the city of Pisa.

How close to the city of Pisa you ask?  Close enough for the racer's to possibly see the campanile, definitely close enough for the helicopters to get some looooooong money shots of the Piazza del Duomo.

The climbs on the stage are as follows

  1. Volterra - 532m elevation; 104km from the finish. 9.1km long rising 426m over an average 4.7% and a max 9%
  2. Passo del Rospatoio - 467m; 37.3km from the finish.  6.2km long lifting 291m over an average 4.7% and a max of 10%
  3. Poggio Civitella - 585m; 4.3km from the finish.  12.6km long rising 470m with a small 3.7 average but a nasty 16% bit.

The Poggio Civitella has three really awful sections, one at the very beginning that's 14% and then a 16% kick about 15km from the finish followed by a 15% rise at around 11km from the finish.  Could be fun!

Here are the official documents from La Gazzetta dello Sport:

  1. Stage Map
  2. Stage Profile
  3. Climb Detail
  4. Time Table

Here's the PodiumCafe Google Earth file for Stage 07.