2011 Giro del Trentino to conclude with two mountaintop finishes
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 Giro del Trentino to conclude with two mountaintop finishes

by Jered Gruber at 11:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Final day returns to Madonna di Campiglio, 12 years after Marco Pantani's 1999 Giro stage win

The major Italian prep race ahead of May's Giro d'Italia, the Giro del Trentino, looks set to provide an extremely difficult final test for riders with their eyes and hearts set on May's grand lap of Italy.

The 35th edition of the Giro del Trentino will run from the 19th to the 22nd of April. The mountainous race in the region of Trentino will run between the two Ardennes weekend classics - the Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

With this same spot on the calendar, it will still be possible for riders to finish the Giro del Trentino, then fly to Belgium to take part in the final Classic of the spring, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, which is on the 24th of April.

Before Alexander Vinokourov can duplicate his impressive double of Trentino and La Doyenne (if he or his team returns of course), he'll have a monster of a race on his hands in Italy first.

It is not entirely clear how the first two stages will play out just yet, but the final two will both finish in the uphill direction.

The penultimate day, Stage 3, will include two ascents of the 989 meter Fai della Paganella, including the stage finishing ascent, which clocks in at 9.5 km and 7.4% average (12% max). The difficult third stage will take in the Fai della Paganella twice.

The final day will return to the legendary ascent of the Madonna di Campiglio. The Giro del Trentino will return to the scene of Marco Pantani's fate altering victory in 1999. After crushing the field from start to finish in the Giro, Pantani did it one more time on the climb to Madonna di Campiglio. Victory was his, so long as he managed to stay upright for the final two stages.

Unfortunately, Il Pirata didn't get the chance to even race the final two days after his hematocrit was found to be over the UCI limit of 50%. He was subsequently taken out of the race, and it can be said that the Italian star's plummet from the top began that day.

The climb itself is a big one: it finishes at 1514 meters after 13.3 kilometers at an average gradient of 5.6%. It will come after a still not totally known stage. It is clear that the day will begin in Andalo, and riders will have to conquer either the Passo Durone or the Passo Daone before hitting the final ascent of the Madonna di Campiglio.

The second straight mountaintop finish should hopefully separate the favorites a bit more than they were in 2010 - Vinokourov took the win over Riccardo Ricco by .14 seconds last year.

The race has been upgraded to an hors categorie stage race in 2011 and is pulling in an impressive list of teams. So far, BMC Racing, Radio Shack, Team Type 1, AG2R La Mondiale, Cofidis, and Europcar (with Tour de France stage winner, Thomas Voeckler and Tour de France King of the Mountains, Anthony Charteau) are all confirmed as starters in April.



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