Wednesday, June 29, 2016

It's Yer Holy Crap Forget the Tour It's Yer Giro Rosa 2016 in Preview! @GiroRosaCycling

Still reeling from post-Giro d'Italia bummedoutness? Nauseous at the thought of one more !@#$ing story about Chris "Pterodactyl" Froome and how barfing his guts out for two years with bilharzia miraculously turned him from middling pack fodder to Tour de France-winning superstar? Crushed at the thought of wee Nairo, or even worse, wee Contador, not taking the stop spot on the Grand Boucle podium? Well, you don't have to, honey, because the legendary Fight for Pink is on again starting like right now tomorrow--it's the grande Giro Rosa 2016! What you need to know:

The Course: We start off with a super-fast, super-flat 2k prologo to stretch the legs, get 'em under you, and zip some fortunate campionessa into the leader's jersey. Then, it's 9 smashing "tappe" to come! Stage 1: a coupla big bumps along the 104k course, and a flat finish--sprinters, get ready! Stage 2: a buncha smaller bumps, a few k more to knock out the legs and an uphill dash to the line. Third: flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat. Okay, now that we love Wiggle rocket goddess Giorgia Bronzini has had some time to shine, can we get to the mountains already? Stage 4: Nope, not yet! A lovely loop of the Lago d'Iseo, some nippy little lumps, and a flat (and looks like just slightly downhill) finale. Stage 5: Woot woot woot, we're hitting the mountains, baby--it's the fabled--and feared!--cima coppi of the Mortirolo, a blistering descent, a run uphill to the line--a short and thoroughly painful 77k! Tappa 6: Mountains again! Passo del Ginestro, Colle di Nava, Passo Caprauna--can I get a !@#$in' bidon and a gel, I'm dyin' here for Chrissakes!--*and* one last vertical blast to Madonna della Guardia. Ouch! Stage 7: the individual time trialists come out to play with a 21.9 flat start, twice-hilly center, and flat finisher. Vai! Stage 8: aw, damn, we're almost done--really, so soon? Another chance to grab some mountain-jersey points without having to kill yerself, and the sprinters can be pretty happy, to boot. Last but not least, we finish the race--and crown the winner--with Stage 9's hill-flat-hill-flat-hill--*how* far is it to the finish line already?--104.8 finale in Verbania. May the best woman win--and as we cover next, the competition is gonna be *tough*!

The Contenders: first, who's *not* here: killer Amazon Marianne Vos, already crushing competition just back from her long season of illness and injury but holding out for gold in Rio, and all-terrain threat Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. Here: yeah, just go home now. Defending 2015 Champ Anna van der Breggen. Former Giro Rosa winners Mara Abbott and Claudia Lichtenberg. Reigning and former World Champs Lizzie Armitstead and Tatiana Guderzo. Italian powerhouses new-crowned national champ Elena Cecchini, Barbara Guarischi, Elisa Longo Borghini, and of course sprint whiz Giorgia Bronzini. Me, I think Mara Abbott's got a crown to reclaim, so no offense to van der Breggen, but you unleash that 10-day can of whup-!@# Mara!

The Prizes: holy !@#$, is this for real? They're earning like 1% of the guys get, for way more'n 1% of the work. I love you Giro Rosa--but sponsors, women's cycling is on fire this year, so for heck's sake it's time to pony up!

Where to Watch: yeah, it's a women's race, so you're largely !@#$ed. But apparently there's live streaming on RAISport2, and clearly, the solution to this stupidity is for each and every one of us to plan a 10-stage--uh, 10-day--trip to Italy for 2017. In the meantime, you can follow all the twitter news that's fit to twit at GiroRosaCycling, and catch up on the day's hot gossip at the official website. Forza ragazze!

Well, that's our short-'n-snappy Giro Rosa 2016 in Preview. More to come, and no doubt, more and more pain with each passing day--but you sure do get to celebrate at the end!

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