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93rd Giro d'Italia - Parcours Preview Week 2
By Giles Belbin
Date: 5/13/2010
93rd Giro d'Italia - Parcours Preview Week 2

93rd Giro d'Italia - Parcours Preview Week 2
The 93rd Giro d'Italia - 3,416.5 kms, 4 Time Trials, Five Mountain Stages, Five Summit Finishes and One Maglia Rosa: it's the first Grand Tour of the Year, it's the 2010 Giro d'Italia - Week Two Parcours Preview: Stages 9 to 15

© 2010 Gazzetta dello Sport

With eight stages completed, including two Time Trials, a host of flat stages and one mountain-top finish , week one of the Giro d'Italia is history. The peloton now turns its attention to the second week of the race. It's a predominately flat week, with a couple of hilly stages to warm the legs up for the sting in the tail that comes at the week's end. Here then is the Daily Peloton's guide to the second week of the 2010 Giro d'Italia.
Giro d'Italia - Parcours Preview Week 1, Stages 1 to 8

Route Map

 Graphic © Giro d'Italia 2010 - Gazzetta dello Sport

Stage 9; Monday 17 May: Frosinone  - Cava De' Tirreni  187 km

Graphic © 2010 Giro d'Italia

After yesterday's gruelling 21km climb to Monte Terminillo the organisers of the Giro have been kind to the riders, for now at least, giving them at least some respite by offering up one of the easier days on the race. Starting in Frosinone the route takes the riders directly south to Cava De' Tirreni. At 187km it is one of the shorter stages in the race (excluding Time Trials only five finish short of today's187km) and it is also one of the flattest. There is barely a pimple on the route so we are in prime sprinter territory here. Undoubtedly an escape will form. Equally sure is that the teams of the peloton's best sprinters will effectively manage the break to ensure it comes back at exactly the right time. Put your house on a bunch sprint for the line in Cava De' Terreni.

Stage 10; Tuesday 18 May:  Avellino - Bitonto  230 km.

Graphic © 2010 Giro d'Italia

Almost right from the off today's route climbs, taking the riders up to 687m before gradually taking them back down over the following 50km or so. Then the road kicks up again taking the peloton up to the 668m Vallico dell'Imbandia. From then the rest of the stage can be best described as a gentle rise followed by a 50km gentle descent to the finish. There is a gentle kick up right at the finish but nothing that should prevent the second mass dash for the line in as many days.

Stage 11 Wednesday 19 May: Lucera - L'Aquila  262 km

Graphic © 2010 Giro d'Italia

A highly poignant stage as the finish town of L'Aquila was one of the hardest hit in the Abruzzo earthquake of last year. At 262km it is also the longest stage of the 2010 Giro and will certainly be a testing affair. Starting in the town of Lucera, there is barely a flat section of road on the route to L'Aquila. Whilst not a huge mountain stage when compared with what is to come, the stage features three classified climbs including the 10km long Rionero Sannitico which features stretches of 11%. The rolling terrain will make the stage ripe for an attack, especially with the Capo de Valle, the third and final classified climb, coming a tantalisingly 40km or so from the finish. Expect Abruzzo based Acqua e Sapone to be particularly animated today: the stage looks tailor made for someone of Stefano Garzelli's abilities.

Stage 12 Thursday 20 May:  Citta Sant'Angelo - Porto Recanati  206 km

Graphic © 2010 Giro d'Italia

With the route now taking the peloton north there will be a feeling among the riders that they are finally heading for home, but there remains well over a third of the race still to go. After the rolling roads of inland Abruzzo, today the riders take a long flat road up the coast for 100km before heading inland and completing a loop and finishing in the coastal town of Porto-Recanati. A flat day with little to trouble the riders, a short, sharp climb 11km from the end might encourage an attack, but the probability is we will see the third bunch sprint of the week.

Stage 13 Friday 21 May: Porto Recanati - Cesanatico  223 km

Graphic © 2010 Giro d'Italia

Today the race starts in yesterday's finish town – Porto Recanati, and is strikingly similar in nature to the previous day's ride. A long drag north, hugging the coast, for over 100km is punctuated by a detour inland before a finish in the coastal town of Cesantatico. It's a tougher stage than yesterday's, at 223km it is over 30kms longer and towards the end the terrain gets noticeably tougher. But with a week of mountains looming ominously on the horizon, the sprinters in the bunch will be eyeing up what is their penultimate chance of a win. It is unlikely the sprinter's teams will let a breakaway or attack stick meaning it's another mass battle for the line. It will be another poignant day for the race as the Giro will be sure to pay its respects to local hero and Italian cycling legend, the late Marco Pantani.

Stage 14 Saturday 22  May: Ferrar - Asolo  205 km

Graphic © 2010 Giro d'Italia

Two weeks into the race and now the fun can really start. This race is so back-loaded with exciting mountain stages that it's a surprise the race itself doesn't topple over. Stage 14, from Ferrar to Asolo, kicks things off nicely. The initial 122km of the 205km stage are straightforward and simple before the peloton hit an appetiser of three little kicks in the road to get the blood pumping. Then the stage's main course is thrust upon us: the 1675m Monte Grappa. Described delicately by Cycle Sport Magazine as “a pig of a climb”, the Grappa is just shy of a 19 km slog with a maximum gradient of 14%.

There follows a fast, 20 km descent and a 16 km flat dash to the finish. The Grappa will be sure to shred the peloton to pieces and the first over the top stands a great chance of staying away to the finish. But with an even more difficult day to come tomorrow, it is likely the main contenders will be content to bide their time and mark each other.

Stage 15 Sunday 23 May: Mestre - Monte Zoncolon  218 km

Graphic © 2010 Giro d'Italia

Thanks to the early first rest day on day four, this is the 12th consecutive stage and the final one before the riders get a well-earned second rest day. It is also the hardest of the race so far, with a summit finish on the dreaded Monte Zoncolan. Again, the initial 100 kilometers represent the lull before the storm with a gradual drag up to 200 m from sea-level. Then comes the first of three categorised climbs before Zoncolan itself. First up is the 955m Sella Chianzutan after 140kms, followed by the 1069m Passo Duron and finally the 958m Sella Valcalda. And then comes the big one.

Standing at 1730 meters (5,200 feet), Monte Zoncolon, along with the Angliru in Spain, is widely regarded as the toughest climb in cycling. It is 10 km long but it's severity is in the murderously steep pitch at which the road rears up. With long stretches of over 15%, a maximum of 22% as well as other sections at 18% and 20% respectively, it is a climb that tests even the greatest of climbers.

It will be packed to the rafters with the Tifosi, roaring on their heroes. For many cycling's true stage is in the mountains and there is perhaps no greater stage than the Zoncolan. There will be pain and sweat, suffering and desperation, agony and torment but, at the climax, for one rider, there will be glory. It should be one of the most spectacular days of cycling to be seen this year. One simply not to be missed.

Be sure to stay with the Daily Peloton for live stage tickers, reports, reactions and all the news from this year's Giro d'Italia.

Check back soon for the final part of the Daily Peloton's preview to the parcours of the 93rd Giro d' Italia.

93rd Giro d'Italia - Parcours Preview Week 1
93rd Giro d'Italia - Parcours Preview Week 2
93rd Giro d'Italia - Favorites Preview
2010 Giro d'Italia Team & Rider Start List
2010 Giro d'Italia - At a Glance
93rd Giro d'Italia - Start List

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