The Giro del Trentino starts today. A four day stage race, it is the opening Alpine race of the year and good contest in its own right. But it is a crucial test ahead of the Giro d’Italia. This year’s edition also features some wild climbing. Here’s a quick look.
Why it matters
Italy has many stage races but this one has a particular value ahead of the Giro d’Italia. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for the overall contenders. The stages are detailed below but there’s a team time trial in Trentino just like the Giro, an event where practice matters. There are two big mountain stages as well.
Any rider wanting to win the Giro will be finalising their training now. There’s only a couple of weeks to the start of the race and normally no more big gains in fitness are possible. Plus riders can calibrate their fitness in a competitive scenario on the fearsome Punta Veleno climb.
It’s a province of Italy in the north, dominated by the Dolomites, a chain of mountains that are part of the Alps. There are high peaks and ski resorts, as well as giant mountain passes which are a regular feature of the Giro d’Italia and they appear in this race too, of which more below. Lower down the mountains the area is famous in Italy for its apple orchards and beyond Italy for its white wines.
The most famous of cyclists from the region is probably Francesco Moser. A superb time triallist, he won the Giro once, broke the hour record, was world champion and won Paris-Roubaix three times in a row, just to list a few highlights. Today he’s a winemaker and Cantine Moser is one of the race sponsors.
The race is the first Alpine race of the year, marking the time when the snow is in retreat and the pastures are open and spring returns to the mountains.
There are four stages.
- Stage 1 is today. A team time trial of 14km, it is an ideal test for teams ahead of the Giro d’Italia and its team time trial in Verona.
- Stage 2 is hilly bordering in mountainous with the Passo Redebus and then an uphill finish at around 5% to the spa town of San Orsola Terme
- Stage 3 is all about the final climb, the Punta Veleno. It is 8.5 km long with an average road grade of 15% and reaches 20% in certain parts as it zigzags up jagged hairpin bends. The riders will cross the top, descend briefly before finishing on a slight rise.
- Stage 4 is Alpine and the day’s profile is ramp-shaped, leading to the giant Passo Pordoi. Often a key climb of the Giro, the Pordoi is 2239 metres above sea level but after the Punta Veleno yesterday the milder 5-6% gradients will be a relief. Let’s hope it is open.
Italian broadcaster RAI are showing it and Eurosport too. You should be able to pick up a pirate internet feed from the usual sources. If you want to watch, Thursday’s Stage 3 with the Punta Veleno should be the highlight.
The start list is on the race website. Amongst the riders look for Michele Scarponi and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Roman Kreuziger (Astana), Carlos Bettancur and Danilo Di Luca (Acqua & Sapone), Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF) and José Rujano (Androni). Betancur, Pozzovivo and Scarponi all looked very strong in Sunday’s Giro dell’Appenino.
The full website includes stage profiles, timetables and more and it’s in English too: http://www.girodeltrentino.com/EN/