Is it Giro yet?
Well, not quite, but certainly, we are getting closer. The Giro del Trentino begins Tuesday 19 April. That's like tomorrow (or today, depending on exactly where you are on this lovely planet of ours.) A traditional warm-up race for the Giro d'Italia, the Giro del Trentino runs four stages through the mountainous region of Trentino, which sits in Northern Italy near the border with Switzerland. Famous locals? Francesco Moser (not really a climber) and Gilberto Simoni (definitely a climber). Also, they grow wine. Mountains and wine, yes, this does seem like a rather scrumptious corner of the world.
Want to know more? To the Under The Fold!
The stages: The race begins with an impressively flat 13.4 kilometer time trial. The course runs between Riva del Garda and Arco. Wednesday's stage runs from Dro to Ledro Bezzecca over rolling terrain. Day three, it's getting harder now. The two finishing climbs hit 7% gradients and are around 800 meters. It's not Giro hard, but it should put a little sting in the legs. We wouldn't want to do too much too soon after all. The final day's stage finishes at the summit of the Madonna di Campiglio, and it should decide the final general classification.
Who's racing? It's a very Italian field that oozes with Giro hopes. Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas-Cannondale, Michele Scarponi of Lampre-ISD, Roman Kreuziger of Astana, Andreas Klöden and Jaroslav Popovych of RadioShack, Carlos Sastre of Geox-TMC, Stefano Garzelli of Acqua e Sapone, Emanuele Sella and José Serpa Perez of Androni Giacottoli, Domenico Pozzovivo of Colnago-CSF Inox, Alessandro Ballan, Chris Murphy, and Steve Morabito of BMC Racing (BMC, mostly for the breakaway adventuring this time), Yuriy Krivstov of AG2R-La Mondiale, Thomas Voeckler of Team Europecar, Christian Meier, Davide Frattini, and Robert Förster of UnitedHealthCare. Nibali, by the way, will head directly to Liège-Bastogne-Liège after this bit of Italian adventuring.
Also, the Giro del Trentino has a Facebook page, so give them some like. No sign of a race mascot, however. Perhaps that's a prudent choice, now that I think of it.