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  Giro d'Italia Stage Detail

Stage Seventeen through Stage Twenty
by Fabio




STAGE 17: MAY 30 (Thursday) - Conegliano/Corvara in Val Badia (222 km.): 
More detailed stage profile

Maurizio Fondriest said this is "the hardest stage of the Giro", and the guys at the Gazzetta called it "mountain Truth Day". Perhaps they were a little excessive in their statements, but no doubts that a 222-km. stage featured by 5 mountains (and what mountains!), including an uphill finish, will be decisive for the final results of the 85th Giro DíItalia. Somebody could make the winning move, somebody else could have his dreams ended.

Right after the gun, the riders have to climb two Dolomitic mountains that, together with Pordoi and Campolongo, are part of the so-called "Gruppo del Sella". The ascents are: Passo Gardena (going from 1555 metres to 2121 metres - Km. 9,500 of climbing - an average gradient of 5,96%) and Passo Sella (starting after a 5.3-km-long descent from the Gardena, and going from 1780 metres to 2213 metres - Km. 5,300 of climbing - an average gradient of 8,17%).

Gardena and Sella could be extremely selective at the end of a stage, but today, with still more than 200 kms. to go, you might also see a sprinter getting first to the top of the mountain. Then down to Canazei and all the way to Gilberto Simoniís area, Trentino. Do not expect great things during the first 110 km., but, right after the city of Trento, a new challenge begins: the Monte Bondone, location of one of the most legendary stages in the Giroís History.

In 1956, under a tremendous weather, Luxembourgian climbing sensation (or "Angel of the Mountains", if you prefer) Charlie Gaul grabbed stage victory and had to wait more than 8 minutes for the runner-up to get to the finish line, with an exhausted Fiorenzo Magni (eventually runner-up to Gaul in the overall standings) taking third, and more than half peloton abandoning ... But Bondone was also the place of another unusual record in October 2000, with an unknown 20-year-old Italian student, Alessandro Forni, going up and down the mountain for 21 times in 24 hours.

Monte Bondone: Km. 19,500 of climbing from Bivio Gardesana - average gradient 7,5%; with the six final kilometres, starting in Vaneze, looking a little (just a little) less difficult. After the descent, the riders get to Arco, where the fourth climb of the day begins.

If the previous ascent was the seat of epical cycling exploits, the "Santa Barbara" (Km. 13 of climbing - average gradient 8,29%) was, in the past month of May, the place of a great boxing match, with Fassa-Bortoloís Wladmir Belli knocking out a young and improvident spectator, wearing a Lampre jersey, that was abusing him. But the "Big Brother" (RAIís Cameras) were filming, and poor Belli was kicked out of the competition. This year riders will climb the "Santa Barbara" from the opposite side, and I hope also people along the route will behave in the opposite way. The toughness of the climb is the same, or perhaps even worse, than last year though.

But even at the top of the Santa Barbara the stage is far from over. Still many kms. to go: first the descent, then a flat route until Rovereto and, about 8 kms. after this city, the peloton will take a right-hand turn up the climb to Folgaria (Km. 14,800 of climbing - average gradient 7,79% ), with the stage ending not in the center of the town, but only where the road itself finishes. Then, if you wanna climb further, you have to take the ski lift ... (previous stage finish to Folgaria: 1969 - Winner: Italo Zilioli).



STAGE 18: MAY 31 (Friday) - Rovereto/Brescia (144 km.): 
More detailed stage profile

Time to breathe a little, after the tough high mountain stages and the demanding, decisive TT coming tomorrow. So a short and relatively easy stage will take the riders from Simoniís Trentino to Frigo, Garzelli and Belliís (and Lanfranchiís, and Bugnoís and Saronniís, and tons of other great ridersí) Lombardy. The stage ends with a city circuit around Bresciaís Castle, to be repeated three times, and including a short, but perhaps decisive, ascent. Time for one of the many riders from this area to take a home win ?

Brescia is the most common among this yearís stage finishes. The Giro came to town 11 times in the past, with the following winners:








1968: EDDY MERCKX (the only foreign winner here, ahead of Adorni and Dancelli);



2000: BIAGIO CONTE (After Spainís Angel Vicioso was disqualified for an "irregular sprint" only the jury saw)

STAGE 19: JUNE 1 (Saturday) - Cambiago/Monticello Brianza (ITT - 44,2 km.):
More detailed stage profile

And finally things will be cleared up today, and the World will know who the Winner of the 85th Giro DíItalia is. The stage begins in the cycling-loving province of Bergamo, in the hometown of the great bicycle architect Ernesto Colnago (and thatís where Colnagoís Headquarters are located, too), passes through Trezzo DíAdda and gets into Milanoís province, before the finish at Monticello Brianza, the town where Fioornze Magni lives.

The route is not completely flat, as riders will have to climb the "Madonna del Bosco" (??). Not exactly the Fedaia pass, but time-trail specialists aiming for a stage win should be careful, anyway.


STAGE 20: JUNE 2 (Sunday) - Cantuí/Milan (142 km.): 
More detailed stage profile

Not much to say about the "last day of school". A likely triumphal ride for the winner, with the usual parade in Milanís city center, the circuit and the finish in Corso Sempione, usually ending in a bunch sprint.

This time the last stage, starting from Cantuí in the Brianza area of Lombardy, will touch the shores of the nice Lake of Como, in the city where Lance Armstrong used to live at the period of his World Title in 1993, and finally get to Milano.

After the last survivor crosses the finish line, time for the same old story: the last kiss from the misses on the podium, the crowd (perhaps) cheering the winner, the organizers saying "Goodbye, see you next year", and the 2002 edition finally over.

But not for Fabio, who will be immediately back to work in order to discover the winner of the 2002 FANTASY GIRO!!!! Donít forget to take part in the competition.



Prologue to Stage Four

Stages Five to Eight

Stages Nine to Twelve

Stages Thirteen to Sixteen



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