The Spin: Giro Stage 16

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Look at the profile and you’ll see 173km with three bumps along the way including one to the finish and given the upcoming mountain stages it might be tempting to view today’s route as a mere transition stage.

But the diagram doesn’t do the the final of the race justice because this is a tricky finish with hairpins, cobbles and double-digit gradient ramps. It could be a very exciting finish.

Even the diagram above doesn’t give the full picture because there are hairpin bends. Instead for the full picture go to Igor Tavella’s posterous blog. You’ll see a series of videos of all the key points; even if you don’t watch them all, the on-screen images display each segment well, with good clues about the cobbles, the corners and Tavella has even added a Strava segment too. As Tavella shows the cobbles are more of the urban paving variety than your Flemish berg but they will still rattle, they will still steal away some speed.

Today could see a chance for the climbers, notably Joaquim Rodriguez, to take more time on riders like Ivan Basso and Ryder Hesjedal. I say could because the action is compressed into only a few kilometres, this is more like the finish in Assisi than last Sunday’s Piani dei Resinelli. But it still suits the punchy riders capable of searing accelerations.

Even if the GC riders might try a late move, an early move is more likely option; whilst the GC contenders try to conserve energy others will aim to use up their last reserves in order to land a stage win. The usual mix of adventurers comes to mind: Visconti, Pirazzi, Felline, Gatto, Gołaś to name but a few. There are some locals in the area and not far away is Austria, home of Vacansoleil’s Stefan Denifl.

Weather: cold and wet. Today will be cloudy with rain showers and the temperature will struggle to break 10 celsius (50F). Almost no wind.

Language: this is still Italy but note the three languages used in the area. There’s Italian but also German since until the battles of the First World War today’s region was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and Tyrol but was annexed by Italy after the war. That’s why today’s stage finish is in Falzes and Pfalzen, two names for the same town. The third language is Ladin, an Alpine language.

Food: the start town might translate as “Lemon on Garda” but there’s little to do with citrus fruits today. Instead northern, germanic influences live on. You’ll find cured pork called Speck is a local speciality, smoked and flavoured with juniper. There are wines too, a bit like the reds of northern Burgundy in France because of the cooler climate. The same weather is suited towards apple orchards and apple strudel, apfelstrudel,  is a decent source of energy for the hungry cyclist.

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{ 11 comments }

InTheGC May 22, 2012 at 9:19 am

Think this stage may produce a few surprises. I can see Joaquim Rodriguez taking even more time out of the others on that final segment. Looking at those picture it’s certainly going to be an interesting finish!

Andre May 22, 2012 at 9:24 am

Interesting day today. I kind of get the feeling that this will be the day when what Rodriguez does will determine just how realistic Cav’s chances are of walking away with the points classification at the end of the Giro.

Stuoid_O May 22, 2012 at 9:54 am

i though visconti climbed off before the rest day?

The Inner Ring May 22, 2012 at 9:58 am

You’re quite right, he’s been scratched off the list. I’ll fix that.

Ankush May 22, 2012 at 11:04 am

I guess this time Purito will go all the way

Bundle May 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm

The question is whether Katiusha will want to spend itself in chasing the breakaway. In my opinion, they should, but I’m not sure they will. The finish is tricky with two flat kilometers. They could try to do a one-two movement with Moreno (which they did successfully last year in the Vuelta a Burgos), but so could other teams. It would be the ideal finish for Gerrans, but he’s not there.
One historic-pedantic point: Italy didn’t get the whole Tyrol after WW1. Nord-Tirol (capital Innsbruck) and Ost-Tirol (capital Lienz) remain Austrian. It is only the Süd-Tirol/Alto Adige (capital Bozen/Bolzano) that became Italian.
And one gastro-pedantic point: it can be disputed that speck is a kind of bacon. An Austrian would surely say that bacon is a specific sort of speck, which can be a more general term. (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speck). But I guess both bacon and speck are loose terms, accepting different definitions. Anyway, Tyrolean speck is definitely delicious. I would also recommend the area’s trouts. :)

The Inner Ring May 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm

There’s Vicioso with Katusha too for the stage.

And yes to the pedantry, Tyrolia is of course part of Austria. As for Speck and bacon, Speck is mixed with herbs and juniper so it is more than smoked or salted pork which is “just” bacon, no?

Bundle May 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Well, “Tiroler Speck” is definitely spiced (usually with juniper but not always and not only) fatty pork, cured and smoked, from the belly or the back.
“Speck” is defined as “ein Stück Schweinefleisch mit viel Fett”, that is, “a piece of pork with a lot of fat”, a category that can include bacon and other meats, not necessarily cured or smoked. But I guess in Italian “Speck” has become a synonym of “Tiroler Speck”.

Tintin Antigua May 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Bundle: Good call on the “Lachsforelle” (trout). It’s delicious but word of warning for the more squeamish. The better places serving fresh trout generally have a live fish tank in the restaurant and the fish are caught to order. It’s not uncommon to hear a splish followed by a splash and then a few dull thuds…

Kjetil May 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm

You guys are making me hungry…

Marshy May 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I have no idea where you picked up you’re weather report, but I can say unequivocally that it is way, way above 10 Celsius, in fact more like 27. And humid! I have been to almost every big race this season and to be honest can’t fault the Weather Channel’s iPad app……On a gastro note I tried knodel/canederli last night, it’s like a poached bread dumpling stuffed with onion and speck, awesome.

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