I’ve never quite understood the whole “Race #100 ZOMGGGGG!!!!” phenomenon. I guess press angles are created and therefore have to be used. Like, God will cry if a good story hook goes unwritten. This is how you get stuff like “Cancellara’s cousin was married to a guy who once... roomed with Tom Boonen on a juniors camp!” [Possibly true story, though I just made it up.] Centenary anniversaries are perfectly good reasons to celebrate, like big birthdays. I had a 50th birthday not very long ago. But if I didn’t really celebrate, say, #s 27, 33 and 41, should I have a 50th celebration blowout in three years? I mean, I can try I guess. But my occasional ambivalence, like Europe’s occasional world wars, doesn’t really seem like a good excuse for a redundant exercise in nostalgia.
Anyway, no such hard-headed logic will ever take hold at Giro d’Italia headquarters, and so with the 100th Giro on tap (on it’s 108th anniversary, OK I’ll stop) it appears we are in for an unusual race. Recall, the 100th anniversary race was a truly unique affair, stopping in each of the original 1909 host cities (except Bologna), resulting in all sorts of urban finishes and a final ending next to the Roman Colosseum. It was also a crono-heavy race, with the “recreate 1909” mandate leaving little room for huge mountain stages, and we are all left with the image of Denis Menchov slipping on the ancient Roman cobbles before getting up to finish, and the video of the Rabobank team bus experiencing more emotions than Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
I could watch that a lot, even knowing that Menchov was probably a dirty cheat. [He got a nice vacation for bio passport violations but wasn’t caught doing anything at the ‘09 Giro.]
- The Giro presentation takes place tomorrow, October 25, and will be the usual gala affair.
- Their new slogan for the 2017 race is Amore Infinito — endless love. Am I complaining? Not really.
- We know there will be a triptych of Sardinia stages, as part of an effort to reach as many of Italy’s 20 formal regions as possible. After Sardinia there will be 18 stages for 19 regions, and I’m sure the mountainous areas like Sud Tirol and Piedmont will get more than their share. So I’m sure a handful of regions, in the Mezzogiorno especially, will get little more than a glimpse at the race.
- CN reports that the race will end in Milan, which would be the first such occurrence since 2012.
- They also report that there will be Sicilian stages, possibly to Messina (Nibali’s home) and Mount Etna.
- They report the possibility of the Abruzzi stage ending at the Blockhaus — which I plan to climb about six weeks later.
- Finally, they report a Stelvio double-climb stage, climbing both sides in a single stage, which would be a first.
There are numerous other rumors in there but I’ve pulled out some of the more exciting ones. Like I said, give them their due and read their piece.
If I had to guess, I’d say we will see a punchier Giro than some of the recent climb-fests. There will be giants, like the Stelvio, Mortirolo, and some Alpine madness, but hitting all the regions means stages that show off those regions. So in Abruzzi you get the Block Haus, in Sicily you get Etna, and so on. There’s a chance we get a parcours so relentlessly climby that by week’s end you’ll start hearing from Tour de France hopefuls bowing out. Nobody overplays their hand quite like the Giro. Stay tuned tomorrow.