Michele Scarponi surprised by the difficulty of the two ascents of Mount Etna
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Michele Scarponi surprised by the difficulty of the two ascents of Mount Etna

by Jered Gruber at 7:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Giro d'Italia's ninth stage tougher than Italian rider expected

Michele Scarponi has returned from a wintry recon ride of the famed climb of Mt. Etna, which will be ascended twice in Stage 9 of the 2011 Giro d'Italia.

The Italian, who finished 4th in this year's grand lap of Italy, found the December visit to Sicily to be of great help.

"Despite the snow, I am pleased to have ridden the route. The climbs are quite difficult compared to what I had imagined. I thought they were shorters with some steep sections, but actually, they are very long and insidious, taking into account we will race them one after the other in the Giro," said the rider from Jesi and quoted in various sources including feltet.dk and esciclismo.com.

Scarponi was impressed by the length and the height of both of the Etna ascents. The first, climbing to Lenza, is almost 30 kilometers long and gains over 1500 meters of elevation. The second and final ascent to the Rifugio Sapienza, from the other side of the great mountain, is 25 kilometers long and gains 1500 meters. Unlike later in the Giro, the gradient won't be the killer in Stage 9, but rather the sheer unending nature of the two climbs.

"It will not be easy to be good for the entire length, also because of the altitude," says the recent Lampre-ISD signing.

For Scarponi, it appears that there is little that ranks higher than the Giro d'Italia. The 31 year old enjoyed a brilliant season in 2010 highlighted of course by a narrow miss of the Giro d'Italia's final podium. He'll be looking to better his performance of 2010 in next year's extremely difficult route. With next May's Giro firmly in mind, Scarponi plans to leave nothing to chance.

"I will continue to study the Giro route and hope that I will be able to do another two or three stages before Christmas."

With Damiano Cunego supposedly set to focus more on the Classics, the way should be clear for Scarponi to have a full go with his new team next May.


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