Casagrande tries the Zoncolan.
After Pampeago, The Zoncolan.
A decisive stage for this year's Giro, with the finish at altitude at Carnia, the Zoncolan definitely deserves respect; a perfectionist at trying the stages, this morning Francesco Casagrande, followed by Sports Director Pietro Algeri, went to do the final 75 km of the 12th stage of this year's Giro, stage San Dona di Piave – Monte Zoncolan.
From Tolmezzo across the Altopiano of Lauco and then the Sella Valcada.
Casagrande was very impressed with the second last climb of the stage, "It is a very difficult climb and the descent has various narrow corners where you have to be very careful, the front group at the start of the Zoncolan will be made up of a small group of riders, those who are able to stay together after the Valcalda."
As far as the Zoncolan is concerned, Casagrande rode the climb with a 25 X 41, he was very impressed with the climb, he says "it will be a very difficult finish, the final 3 km are very steep, with sections reaching a gradient of 22%, similar to that of the Angliru. If Thursday the 22nd has to rain then it is going to be a disastrous day with riders slipping all over the climb."
Pietro Algeri, the well experienced sports director from Bergamo says that he can't remember a finish this difficult in the last 20 years of the Giro, as far as he can remember the finish at the Ciocco in Tuscany was similar; Mortirolo and Marmolada are just as hard but they don't have the finish on the climb. As far as Pietro Algeri is concerned the three stages of Zoncolan-Pampeago and the Time Trial of Merano-Bolzano will determine the overall GC of this year's Giro, "these are three stages you can't do mistakes on."
Francesco Casagrande will be racing on the 3 and 4 of May at the Gp Industria and Commercio di Larciano and the Giro di Toscana; these will be the last 2 one day races for Casagrande before the Giro d’Italia.
To read other rider's reaction to the course here.
To read about the major difficulties in the Giro here.
Lampre News - Riders
We start off with the Spanish rider Patxi Vila, to present the riders for this year's Giro.
-Born in Bera, the province of Navarra, on the 11 October 1975, lives in Hondarribia in the province of Gipuzkoa, he has been with Lampre since 2003 after two years with Banesto.
-Graduated at "Izef" as a physical trainer, started working in a centre with disabled people especially with downs syndrome, paralysis.
-Came to Lampre thanks to my "brother" Juanma Garate - "I found the right shoe to fit my foot, a team where the philosophy of racing suits me perfectly."
-I am a fairly all round cyclist except the only thing I am not able to do well is the sprint."
-"To be at the Giro is one of my dreams. I am hoping to do well, all my preparation has been dedicated 100% to the 10 May for the start of the Giro in order to help my captain Francesco Casagrande, the rider who was my fan for many years."
-Patxi tells his fans to look out for him on the last 4 stages.
-"My fans will be coming from Spain with the Ikurrina (The flag from the Basque Country), the txistorra (Salami, that is made where I live) and a good bottle of wine Rioja" -
the last thing on his mind for our rider going to the "Pink" race.
-"I dont know how I will go at this Giro, the only thing I can say is that I will give my maximum for the team in order to win this Giro.
Please visit the Giro 2003 on the left hand navigator bar.