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Giro Stage 2: Sardinian Shakeup On Tap

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Sardinian Splendor
Tim de Waele

Stage 2: Olbia — Tortolì, 211km

The second leg of the Giro d’Italia’s Sardinian adventure takes the race inland a bit and over some harder climbs, with the possibility of some change to the various classifications. The presence of a cat-2 climb near the end earns the stage a mezza montagna rating, but the possibility of a bunch sprint can’t be overlooked.

Mappa

Giro st 2 map

And more importantly...

Giro St 2 profile

Did You Know! That today’s stage will pass through no less than three language districts? Olbia is home to the Logudorese language, a mix of Latin, pre-Latin and Catalan. But the surrounding area at the north end of Sardinia is where they speak Gallurese (an Italo-Dalmatian language with hints of Corsican), which the race will “encounter” as it leaves the city. Then back to a Logudorese area, and finally arriving in Tortolì where Campidanese, considered simply a Sardinian language, takes over. None of these are intelligible to Italians. It’s the Wales of Italy, only more complicated.

Sardinian language map

AmyBC’s Wine of the Day

Amy, our local wine expert, will be chiming in at each stage to suggest a wine pairing or at least some info to file away for later, as the race courses through the endlessly intricate vineyards of Italy’s wine world.

Stage 2: Vermentino di Gallura, "Canayli" from Biondivino

From the importer: The Vermentino varietal can be found under fairly intensive cultivation in nearly all the Mediterranean coastal districts from Spain to Liguria and on the two major islands of Corsica and Sardinia. It is also grown in small areas on the island of Madeira and at some places in southern France. Vermentino is clearly Spanish in origin. It traveled from Spain to Corsica in the 14th century and from there went on to Liguria. Its appearance on Sardinia was fairly recent, the final decades of the last century, and it was first planted in the Gallura at the island’s northernmost tip.

Tasting note: Bright yellow. Fruity and floral with citrus and white peach.

Now, back to the stage...

What’s It About?

An inland romp over rough geography, nothing too dramatic, but the Genna Silania climb at the 170km mark is a cat-2 ascent, which will make for some fun racing as KOM hopefuls will be fixated on the 14-point prize that will earn them blue for a while. Any more serious breakup of the peloton might see plans change rapidly as the fast finishers from the climbers’ selection could sniff a stage win and even a maglia rosa. There is still 45km to go from the top of the climb, mostly downhill and flat, so I don’t really expect a big day of action, but at a minimum the climbs will soften up some legs (including the steeper cat-3 Nuoro ascent).

Who Will Win?

I suspect it’ll be a sprint again, though you might see a few names missing and an interesting winner. Prime territory for a true sprinter who doesn’t have that much trouble going uphill, particularly if his team isn’t too busy with long-term ambitions to manage this stage. I’m looking at you, Fernando Gaviria.