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The Tour of Italy 2002 Unveiled
By Alan Newson
Date: 18/11/2001

2002 TOUR OF ITALY: A Giro with a difference next year as the race starts in Holland and then proceeds to race through Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and France before hitting home soil. We take a look at the makeup of the route including a map of where the event is heading next year ....
A look at next year's Tour of Italy
Next year starting on May the 11th, between 18 and 22 teams of 9 riders will commence battle in the 2002 Tour of Italy, or the Giro as it is affectionately known. Those wanting to know just who will be riding will have to wait until the 21st of March but over the coming days we will take a look at just who those teams may be. Next years race is one with a difference as the 20 stages plus prologue will pass through many of the founding nations for the European Union. After starting in Holland, it goes to Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and France before hitting home soil on one of the key early stages (5). Here from Fabio comes some interesting stats:
20 Stages and 3,344 km. (30km less than 2001)
2 Individual time trials (total=80 km, 18 more)
3 Mid-Mountain stages (1 less than in 2001)
3 Mountain Top finishes (as 2001) on stages 11,13, 17)
18,200 meters of climbing (2001 only 17,223)
Quick Analysis
Over the coming days, we'll have more on the route for the Tour of Italy but for now, here is a quick over view of what the stats mean. Because of the route travelling through so many countries far from its base in Italy, one of the principle attributes is the amount of transfers which is said to disturb many of the team's managers and even Super Mario (or Lion King if you prefer), Mario Cipollini says such long transfers may effect the race.
The event starts in Holland and from there until stage 5, it travels through the European Union where the riders will battle it out to wear the various leader's jerseys on offer, Overall (pink); Intergiro (sky blue), Points (Cyclamen) and Mountains (Green). At the end of each stage, there will be time bonuses of while 12", 8", and 4" for the first 3 across the line and with the slim winning margin of the Vuelta in mind, perhaps the Intergiro bonuses of 6", 4", 2" will be hotly contested.
Before all this though, there is a prologue of 6.5km travelling around Groningen and its picturesque canals. The early stages like many in a Grand Tour are for the sprinters or those who eyes are fixed on a stage victory and not the overall. In fact, the overall contenders can let their teams control the race for the first week because it isn't until the second week that the battle for the Pink jersey will rage.
Stage 1 is ripe for the sprinters but as the race moves into Germany and Belgium, it hits the hills in the Ardennes that the Tour de France went over this year, hills that didn't stop the sprinters having some fun. It really isn't until they get to stage 5 and Italy that sprinters may come unstuck with the Cippo Madonna del Moro and although a descent follows, it is only be those who can get back to the front of the race who will benefit in Limone Piemonte.
The route on stage 6 may not shape the overall table, but the climbs such as Bric Berton and the Sassello will help the chances of the climbers looking for a stage win. Stage 7 is short and hilly too but stage 8 is another that the sprinters team will want to control as is stage 9 and stage 10.
The race for the overall
The overall race hots up after stage 10 with four stages for the climbers. Stage 11 is where it get serious and one for the diaries if you are lucky enough to have TV coverage of the race. Stage 12 and 13 as well and on stage 14 a very lumpy time trial with a reported 20kms of climbing (and 10kms of descending) in it to sort out the overall if the mountain top finishes have not.
A rest day and a flat stage 15 give the overall protagonists a rest before stage 16 on the 29th of May where they will takle a stage that climbs steadily for the first half before a succession of mountain passes that follow. It is on stage 16 that the race climbs to its highest point, the 2,239 meters high Passo Pordoi. The race is now hitting in the infamous Dolomites and the battle for the overall will be on again, perhaps a softening up day for stage 17 that is said to be the toughest of the race. After a tough start to the stage, the field will no doubt regroup until the latter half of the course when they hit the climbs again, finishing up the steep climb of the Folgaria.
Stage 17 isn't only mountainous, it is also long, 222km and will perhaps be one that does a lot to settle the overall classification. After a breather on the hilly but neverthless harmless stage 18 which will perhaps give the overall contenders time to pause for reflection, there is on stage 19, a flat time trial that will give those that climb and time trial an advantage over the pure climbers. The big finale follows the next day in Milan with the sprinters looking for that all important show peice to take home, a sprint victory on the event's queen of flat stages.
Reaction so far is that its a "nice Giro" but not a hard one. Both Pantani and Simoni seem to at least agree on that and no doubt Fabio will have more reaction in the coming week. "It is a beautiful course, I like it, even if it is not so heavy. But it offers possibilities for all types of riders", said Marco Pantani, the Giro winner of 1998.
Dario Frigo, who was thrown off the race this year and out of his team for doping infringments for which has been given a 6 month ban, says that it is "as hard as the last race and above all has more time trials which naturally pleases me." Pro Cycling reports him as saying that "Recovery will be crucial, more than ever, especially with the long transfers between stages." Meanwhile the Lion King, Mario Cipollini will be looking to add to his tally and with the early flat stages suiting him, he is confident of doing so saying that "the transfer between stages can tire some riders and may affect the results".
Mapei's Paolo Bettini, a rider noted for his one day victories says it's a race that appeals to him and with his climbing and sprinting ability, and looking at the route it is easy to see why he feels that way and Danilo Di Luca has hinted that he will be supporting his team leader Simoni rather than going for an overall placing himself.
Prologue - May 11, Groningen, (Holland) 6.5km
1st stage - May 12, Groningen - Munster (Germany) 215km
2nd stage - May 13, Cologne - Liege (Belgium) 199km
3rd stage - May 14, Verviers- Esch sur Alzette (Belgium) 213km
4th stage - May 15, Esch sur Alzette (Belgium) - Strasbourg (France) 210km
May 16 -   Rest day
5th stage - May 17, Fossano-Limone Piemonte ( Italy) 143km
Côte à Limone Piemonte (1407 m) (nr finish)
6th stage - May 18, Cuneo - Varazze 181km
7th stage - May 19, Circuit of Versilia 159km
8th stage - May 20, Capannori - Orvieto 224km
Arrivée at Orvieto
9th stage - May 21, Tivoli - Caserta 208km
10th stage - May 22, Maddaloni - Benevento 151km
11th stage - May 23, Benevento - Campitello Matese 136km
Arrivée at côte à Campitello Matese (1440 m)
12th stage - May 24, Campobasso - Chieti 201km
13th stage - May 25, Chieti - San Giacomo 188km
Arrivée at côte à San Giacomo (1105 m)
14th stage - May 26, Numana (individual time-trial) 30km Time trial (30 km)
May 27 -  Rest day
15th stage - May 28, Terme Euganee - Conegliano 158km
16th stage - May 29, Conegliano - Corvara 159km
Cols de Forcella, Fedaia, Pordoï-Cippa Coppi (2239m, toit du Giro), Campolongo
17th stage - May 30, Corvara - Folgaria 222km
Gardena, Sella, Bondone, Santa Barbara and arrivé at Côte à Folgaria (1340 m)
18th stage - May 31, Rovereto - Brescia 144km
19th stage - June 1, Cambiago - Monticello (ITT) 44km Time trial
20th stage - June 2, Cantu-Milan 142km

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