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Giro Stage 01 Preview: Amsterdam ITT (Prologue)

Stage 01 :: Saturday May 8, 2010
8.0km :: Amsterdam (ITT)

Hey everyone!  Welcome to the first of the stage previews for the 2010 running of the Giro d'Italia.  For the next three weeks, the routes will be mapped in pink,  the climbs mapped in red, the Rifornamiento points shown as cups of cappucino and we'll have regular contributions from those who know about what's to come.  Gavia is back with knowledge, intrigue and history, I'm pasting in Chris' commentary from his "Personal Guide to Watching the Giro", and Frinking is back with "Frinking's Corner" where he will ... well... be Frinking.

I'll do the wrangling and write a bit, but I'm primarily here to bring the previews together and add a bit of window dressing in the way of screen captures from Google Earth.  Speaking of stages, this is a preview of stage 1, the Amsterdam ITT.  So bring a bottle of Genco Olive Oil for Don Ciccio, a glass of Heineken, some Bitterballen, steam the premium Zeeland Mosselen, grab lots of cheese, and meet us all over on the flip for maps, impressions and commentary.

Gavia's cares not for the NW swell when the Giro's afoot:
Gavia will provide information as soon as she's done admiring Davide Cassani :)

Oooh là là, It's Giro! I do love me some Italy. It's a bit confusing that this Giro d'Italia is starting in the Netherlands, but I can adapt. Just watch me.

The prologue runs over a point-to-point course from the Museumplein, where apparently there are museums, and the Stadioplein, where there appears to be a stadium. It's large, the stadium that is. The Museumplein includes the famous Van Gogh museum. I confess, I might skip the early riders for a peek at a starry night and a few haystacks. Is this wrong? Maybe.

You don't get very far in Amsterdam without crossing a canal. This prologue course crosses the canals on three occasions. There are several corners - I count nine - but the long straightaways should suit the specialists. Climbs? Forget about it. We will have no climbing in this prologue, and the maximum elevation gain is about 3 meters. Hurt me!

Riders to watch? Local boy Marco Pinotti won the prologue at the Tour de Romandie. Wearing the first Maglia Rosa of this year's Giro would certainly put a smile on his face. Bradley Wiggins sometimes rocks a solid crono, but he seemed a bit unclear on his ambitions during the team presentation. Maybe he was just distracted. Other fabulous crono men include David Millar, Cadel Evans, Christian Vandevelde, Gustav Larsson, Vladimir Karpets, Ignatas Konovolovas (now that dude's got name!), Vincenzo Nibali, and Marzio Bruseghin. No doubt there's a few others I missed. The start list, she is long.

Here is your starting order.

Enjoy! Vive il Giro!

Frinking's Corner is brought to you today by the letters ZOMG:

Excited Excited Excited!!!

Surprise! I'm back.. altho I expect 3 paragraphs of Dan above* me of how great he think it is I'm back... And with that. The surprise isn't as big as when you read it. So the To Did list...

  • Cooked Check
  • Beat your nephew Check
  • Get beaten by my nephew Check
  • Get back in ZEN mode Check
  • Finally checked the TT map A'dam Check
  • Email around for some company Check
  • Ask Ted for advise Check
  • Buy Pancakes (for all) Check
  • mail Check
  • See Dan's mail Check
  • Scream Check
IT'S GIRO TIME!  And you know what... It's in freaking Holland!  Holland, where we can identify the pink of the Gay Parade, with the pink of the Giro! (Altho I'm the only one who think that is strange!)

I have no clue whatsover what the surface will be.. But relative long streets with a turn every 500m.. Cancellara would win this with 1.30 minute on his contenders.. So there is only one guy who can win in the absent of Cance now: Flens! You heard it here first. Dutch proud.  See a Daredevil who pushes Flens the first/middle/last half... that's me. Still no clue where my watchpoint will be so stripe after the TT what was applicable. Who's riding for place 2? Vino, Millar, Wiggins, Evans, Nibali. Bobridge, Porte, Grivko and Larsson. With some sprinters in the mix what want to grab the Pink after the TTT.. Every sprinter and Sky + Garmin rider will ride fast. EXCITED!!!

Oh... and what do we do If Flens has won? Right...

Chris is willing to sacrifice his child's tee-ball game for this stage:

Action: I've never been a huge fan of prologue-watching, but this is a pure power course and a bit longer than your average prologue, meaning it should have some early implications for who gets/has to carry around the maglia rosa for the first week. The big names (non-doping edition) should be too sensible to get their hands dirty here -- this is a monster Giro, folks -- but the cronomen and basically anyone from Italy will be going all out. Marco Pinotti, anyone?

Pageantry: Pretty over the top. RAI will be a non-stop parade of celebrities, beautiful women, past victors, and hopefully some Dutch dignitaries as well. The race starts behind the Rijksmuseum, so an art theme is possible, though I can't imagine that lasting more than 45 seconds. In other words, this will be Italian TV production at its finest.

The Plan: I don't have DS Little Bear's tee-ball schedule handy, but suffice to say that if it's a morning game, it's canceled. Believe it or not, rainouts are rare here, so I may have to tell him the umpires are on strike.

Now, as for the course itself, it's a short time trial and super flat. Later time trials will be decidedly unflat, but until then, this is the warm up for the prettiest stage race of the year.

Not too many twists and turns, although it's hard to determine using mapping software exactly the precise route they will follow. Sometimes the roundabouts are on course, sometimes they aren't. Regardless, this little ITT should be a zesty enterprise, with gorgeous scenery to boot, if the weather holds.  My memories of Amsterdam all involve rain (and beer... and bitter balls...)  but I'm told that, occasionally, they have pretty days too. For the Giro's sake, I wish A'dam warm bright sunny skies!

Ed Note: Due to Department of Homeland Security restrictions, I am legally forbidden from praising Frinking with any word quantity greater than seven, and by regulation, the sentence containing those seven words has to have the phrase "better than a pickled herring" in it. So, here is my legally and security approved praise of Frinking with the required structure and length: "Frinking is better than a pickled herring."