Stage 15: Valdengo - Bergamo 199 km
Did You Know!
Wiki tells me Bergamo is nicknamed "Cittá dei mille"/"City of the thousand" in Italian independence history as it provided the main part of the thousand man army that Garibaldi led south to aid rebels in Sicily in 1860 during the Second War of Independence. It’s also one of the centres of the wealthy Lombardy region which has served as the engine room of the Italian peninsula throughout much of history. The final climb of the day is up to Bergamo Alta which forms one of the two parts of the city . There is Alta (upper) which is the old medieval town on the hilltop and there is "Bassa" (lower) which forms the main part of the modern city. If you’re not riding a bike like the peloton you can get between the two using a funicular which is always a cool option.
As for famous natives of Bergamo my favorite is most definitely Gaetano Donizetti, one of the three masters of bel canto opera (Giacchomo Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini being the others). Bel canto is the mid 19th century style of opera with highly technical singing, flowing music and invariably silly plotlines. The dumber and more outrageous the story the better the singing is as a general rule. Bel canto (which translates to beautiful singing) always put the emphasis on allowing the singer to excel in bravado arias and ensembles, this was the age of divas and peacock tenors.
AmyBC’s Wine of the Day
Fennocchio Langhe Freisa
From the importer: Five generations of Fenocchios have been producing wine from their holdings in the heart of the Bussia in Monforte d’Alba since 1894. Most of the production was sold locally up until 1964, when the ambitious and energetic Giacomo Fenocchio took over for the estate. His goal was to make the finest wines in all of Barolo, so he purchased prime parcels in some of the best crus in the Langhe – including Villero in Castiglione Falletto and Cannubi.
What’s It About?
This is a good question, I’d call it an entertainment stage. The upcoming week couldn’t get much harder so the riders need some respite. This is clearly styled as an old timey Giro piano stage with a calm first few hours an exciting finale for viewers. What they’ve done is take 50 kms of last year’s Il Lombardia finale and lopped off the lumpy bits before that and replaced it with 150 easy kilometers. So if you want an idea how it may play out you can watch this (if you don’t remember it by heart).
Of course here we are quite likely going to see a breakaway take the stage. At this point in the race it is hard to see any team wanting or having the leftover resources to keep the race together for a final as unpredictable as this. Nevertheless the Bergamo Alta finish with the steep little climb and plunge to the line and the final sprint should ensure that we get two thrilling finishes. First with the breakaway to decide the winner and among the GC guys where at least one or two crazy guys are prepared to go nuts to win a few seconds and bragging rights.
Pick to Win
Diego Rosa has some unfinished business here since last year doesn’t he? And Sky could use some things going their way after Thomas went home. Maybe it’s too obvious a pick, history doesn’t really repeat itself that way too often, so if I were to hedge my bets with some other guys for the breakaway win I’ll go with Dylan Teuns or Davide Villella. Both guys with the qualities to win this if they can get themselves into the right break of the day.