Saturday, May 02, 2015

It's Yer 2015 Giro d'Italia in Preview: The Course!

Oh yeah, it's Grand Tour season at last, baby--and what better way to kick it off than with the insanely beautiful--and grossly underappreciated--Giro d'Italia! So before we get to the contenders--and yap, Alpe d'Huez, yap, it will so too be better than the Tour de France no matter who's riding it--what've these poor saps got in store for the next 21 days once they set off from San Lorenzo al Mare? This!

Stage 1: Yep, let's get our first boy into pink--it's the team time trial, honey! 17.7 k of pretty darn flat twitchy-as-hell first-day legs.

Stage 2: Sprintfest! I know, Tommeke's just coming back and this isn't his race, and Petacchi's, well, still about a hundred years younger than Davide Rebellin, but half the other fast-men have been felled by viruses this year, and these guys have got something to prove. Plus, in Ale-Jet's sunset Giro, the scene of so many of his triumphs, he'll be keen to at least be in the mix. So even if the Gorilla does get it, forza both of 'em--if not this day, then soon!

Stage 3: time to stretch the legs on the uphills before a flat flat finish. First GC contender to look weak gets mercilessly abused in the press the next three weeks!

Stage 4: Up and down again, and again, a flat end to the day. Puncheurs, unite!

Stage 5: Officially again, a "medium mountain" stage, but the first of the uphill finishes. Aru, if you haven't already been po--uh, aren't quite feeling your best yet, this is a nice place to show off!

Stages 6 and 7: Whew! More playgrounds for the sprinters. Enjoy 'em while they last, Greipel--or before the mountains kick your !@# out the race!

Stage 8 and 9: up we go! A steep schlep then slight whip down on stage 8, then a roller-coaster of a stage 9. Next up: rest day, thank God!

Stage 10: the GC contenders just have to stay the hell outta the way as the fast-men enjoy another chance to shine. But the pain is coming gentlemen, it's coming!

Stage 11: rather lumpy, but fundamentally harmless. Stage 12: flat most of the way, then a coupla big bumps and an uphill slog to the finish. Keep your cool, Aru!

Stage 13: !@#$, where are the mountains already?

Stage 14: Damn, a 59.4k individual time trial! Any bets on who gets hosed the worst?

Stage 15: The GC battle really begins! After the Passo Daone takes a serious 14% nip at the legs, the top of the Madonna di Campiglio will either bring Alberto Contador hope and glory, or a post-race team-bus !@#-whuppin' for the ages. Next up, it's the second and final rest day--as we all start to seriously contemplate, so is this "Giro-Tour Double" bull!@#$, or not?

Stage 16: ow ow ow ow ow! It's the fearsome Mortirolo with maximum agony of 18 !@#$in' percent--but that's not even the end of it! If Porte can hold it to Aprica, and get over that little matter of the 15% hump up the way, he's looking good for overall. But maybe not so good as Contador!

Stage 17: Any o' you sprinters left? Here's your reward--you won't be feeling half so great tomorrow!

Stage 18: On the plus side, it's pretty nice and flat at the end. Like anyone will have enough energy to notice!

Stage 19: Screwed on GC, but hoping for a game-changing--and stupidly unmarked--flash of brilliance, or at least a face-saving stage win from yer humiliating time trial? Cervinia's your chance--good luck with that!

Stage 20: D'oh! It's the Col delle Finestre, on the way to Sestriere. Has Contador still got it, or has the turmoil in Tinkov's house taken its toll on his resident GC superstar too? Is finally Porte going to grow into the hype? Or is an ex-Euskaltel rider going to make me not give a crap anyway? Yep, woot woot ex-Carrots!

Stage 21: finally, as the overall winner takes his chill victory lap--and it better be Contador, or it sure won't be chill with Tinkov following him in the team car screaming for 6 straight hours--everyone but the sprint lead-outs can just concentrate on staying upright and mercifully crossing the finish line in more or less one piece. Oh, come on, even if it's a bull!@#$ giveaway, like you don't think this'd be a nice goodbye for Petacchi!

And here, the entire course, with techno music--next up, our GC Contenders, and yes there are and no I haven't forgotten the other guys!

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