Giro d’Italia presents mountainous but humane route for 2014
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Monday, October 07, 2013

Giro d’Italia presents mountainous but humane route for 2014

by Ben Atkins at 11:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Marco Pantani remembered in the mountains after first ever Northern Ireland start

vincenzo nibaliThe route of the 2014 Giro d’Italia, the 97th edition of the Corsa Rosa, was presented in Milan today, with a course designed to offer something to the sprinters as well as the mountain specialists.

Unusually, the race will start on a Friday - May 9th - with the team time trial in the Northern Irish capital, with a road stage also starting and finishing in Belfast the following day. Stage three will be another road stage from Armagh in Northern Ireland, to the Republic of Ireland capital Dublin, the birthplace of 1987 winner Stephen Roche.

With the three days in Ireland out of the way, the riders - and all of their equipment - will face the mother of all transfers between the Irish capital and Giovinazzo on Italy’s southern east coast, just above the stiletto heel of Italy’s boot. Once that long journey is out of the way, however, there will be very few long distances to travel between stages; the remaining two rest days will be genuine opportunities to rest, rather than a drive of several hours.

Despite its Irish start, the 2014 Giro d’Italia will pay tribute to the late Marco Pantani, who won the 1998 edition. Despite a shadow hanging over many of il Pirata’s results, the enigmatic climber still holds his place in the hearts of Italian cycling fans, and the race will mark ten years since his tragic death on Valentine’s Day 2004.

The first Italian stage will head south for what should be a sprinter’s finish in the city of Bari, which will come at the end of eight laps of a 9.6km circuit. From there, the race heads north, with two medium mountain stages from Taranto on Italy’s instep and Viggiano, and between Sassano and Montecassino, in the shadow of the famous monastery that saw such fierce fighting in World War II; both stages feature uphill finishes.

A flatter day on stage seven sees the route pass close to Rome on the way between Frosinone and Foligno on a profile that should suit the sprinters. The medium mountains return for stage eight, however, from Foligno to Montecopiolo, with the first serious climbs of the race in the Cippo di Carpegna and the summit finish at the Madonna del Faggio.

Stage nine will see a similarly tough summit finish from Lugo to Sestola, before the race’s second rest day. With no long transfer to do, stage ten will start from nearby Modena with an almost totally flat route to Salsomaggiore Terme, while the following day will see the longest stage of the race, with a 249km course along the Ligurian coast from Collechio and Savona.

The first individual time trial of the race then follows, with a predominantly flat 46.4km around some of Italy’s most exclusive wine country, between Barbaresco and Barolo. The sprinters should have something of their own way on stage 12, as it passes close to Torino on the way between Fossano and Rivarolo Canavese before they try to hide at the back of the peloton as the serious mountains arrive.

Stage 14, between Agliè and Oropa, will be the first of the days dedicated to Pantani, recalling his victory in 1999, while stage 15 will also remember the Pirate between Valdengo and Montecampione, on the climb where he famously threw away his nose stud and rode on to finally secure the Maglia Rosa.

Following the two-day Pantani tribute, the peloton will be treated to its third rest day before a horrifically mountainous final week.

Despite being the shortest road stage of the 2014 Giro, at just 139km, stage 16 between Ponte di Legno and Val Martello/Martelltal, will surely be one of the toughest as it crosses both the Passo Gavia and Passo dello Stelvio on the way to the 2059 metre-high summit finish.

The flatlanders will be given a little respite on stage 17, between Sarnonico and Vittoria Veneto - although the presence of the short, but super-steep Muro di ca’ del Poggio with less than 20km to go will offer a big opportunity for escapers to foil the sprinters - but they will be pitched back into the mountains again the following day, with yet another summit finish between Belluno and Rifugo Panarotta (Valsugana).

The second individual time trial of the race then follows, and could provide some of the most spectacular images of the race between Bassano del Grappa and Cima Grappa (Crespano del Grappa). 2014 will be the centenary of the start of World War I, and Monte Grappa was the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting on the Italian front.

The tradition of inserting a hard, and potentially decisive mountain stage in on the penultimate day continues, as stage 20 takes in 167km between Maniago and Monte Zoncolan. For the second year in succession the race will finish outside the usual city of Milan, and instead stage 21 will take place in the eastern Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, between Gemona and Trieste, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the city officially becoming part of Italy again.

Giro d’Italia (WT) May 9th - June 1st

Stages
May 9th, Stage 1: Belfast TTT 21.7km
May 10th, Stage 2: Belfast - Belfast, 218km
May 11th, Stage 3: Armagh - Dublin, 187km
May 12th: Rest day
May 13th, Stage 4: Giovinazzo - Bari, 121km
May 14th, Stage 5: Taranto - Viggiano, 200km
May 15th, Stage 6: Sassano - Montecassino, 247km
May 16th, Stage 7: Frosinone - Foligno, 214km
May 17th, Stage 8: Foligno - Montecopiolo, 174km
May 18th, Stage 9: Lugo - Sestola, 174km
May 19th: Rest day
May 20th, Stage 10: Modena - Salsomaggiore, 184km
May 21st, Stage 11: Collecchio - Savona, 249km
May 22nd, Stage 12: Barbaresco - Barolo ITT, 46.4km
May 23rd, Stage 13: Fossano - Rivarolo Canavese, 158km
May 24th, Stage 14: Agliè - Oropa, 162km
May 25th, Stage 15: Valdengo - Montecampione, 217km
May 26th: Rest day
May 27th, Stage 16: Ponte di Legno - Val Martello/Martelltal, 139km
May 28th, Stage 17: Sarnonico - Vittorio Veneto, 204km
May 29th, Stage 18: Belluno - Rifugo Panarotta (Valsugana), 171km
May 30th, Stage 19: Bassano del Grappa - Cima Grappa (Crespano del Grappa) ITT, 26.8km
May 31, Stage 20: Maniago - Monte Zoncolan, 167km
June 1, Stage 21: Gemona - Trieste, 169km

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