A warm-up for the Giro d’Italia, this race marks a turning point in the season when the roads for the high mountains. A key test of form and teamwork ahead of the season’s first grand tour, it’s an exciting race with some tough climbs.
Here’s a preview with the stages, climbs, riders and if you’re planning to watch it live on TV note the early finish each day.
Time bonuses apply to the normal road stages. 10-6-4 seconds at the finish and 6-4-2 for the intermediate sprints.
A short and sharp road stage and a test for the sprinters? It would be only there are not many starting the race for obvious reasons. The Iselsberg pass is 5km long at a 7% and crucially with the upper part nudging 8% which should see many riders dropped.
A team time trial along the Drava valley this will be a short and sharp effort for all. It’s ideal practice for the Giro d’Italia where Stage 2 features a team time trial, albeit on a more technical course.
Stage 2 returns to Italy with two big climbs on the menu. The Passo Lavazé is an irregular climb where the 6.5% average hides ever-changing slopes. The summit finish at Vetriolo Terme is again flattered by the 7.6% average gradient for the 13.5km which is selective enough, but the final 5km reach 9%.
The finish looks like it’s downhill but instead it’s slightly uphill to the line. Like Stage 1A this stage looks suited to punchy riders capable of exploiting the hilly terrain.
The final climb of the Sega di Ala dominates the stage and rightly so with its 20% slopes and 21 hairpin turns. The first 6 km have a 10% average incline which in certain parts reaches 14 to 16%. The middle section is the steepest with the average incline around 11.5% reaching 20% in some parts. After that the road continues to climb gently softening to 3% by the finish line.
The Trentino region is famous for its mountains, valleys apples and wines. It’s an autonomous part of Italy with historic links to Austria and the Austro-Hungarian empire from two centuries ago and where German is still spoken, along with Ladin, a rare language that lives on in this mountainous region. The race perpetuates these traditions and links because much of the 2013 race is outside of the actual Trentino region. For example the start in Lienz is in Austria.
If you find this confusing, wait 100 days until the Tour of Poland starts… in Trentino with the opening stage in Rovereto.
It’s on TV each day with Italian broadcaster RAI and Eurosport showing the race. Stage 1B will finish at 4.50pm Euro time but the broadcast looks like it’ll be delayed.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will have live TV. Note the early finish on the other days with the finish expected for 3.30pm each day.
Always an interesting race this year’s edition is attracting a wider audience because it’s a warm-up for the Giro d’Italia and several foreign riders are building for this race. After winning last year Domenico Pozzovivo is back, this time in the Ag2r La Mondiale jersey. The piano-playing economist won’t want to go piano on the climbs, in fact he can’t as his team is full of strong climbers and they’ll pay a price in the team time trial.
Previous winner Vincenzo Nibali says he’s been riding stronger than ever and so he’s an obvious pick and comes with a strong Astana team.
Bradley Wiggins’s style has changed this year, in 2012 he was victorious in many races but this year he’s had a quieter approach to his season goal of the Giro. A stage win for Team Sky in the team time trial is possible but the interest will be how he copes with the irregular gradients of the two summit finishes.
Another curiosity is Cadel Evans of BMC Racing. A late decision to ride the Giro, he’ll want to test his form here and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares. He was strong in the Tour of Oman but off the pace in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Criterium International. Note the return after injury by Marco Pinotti.
Ivan Basso is another rider not getting any younger. A past winner, he rode a strong Giro last year but was limited on the climbs, able to ride like a turbo diesel but unable to respond to the sharp changes. So how will he cope this week? The same for Michele Scarponi who’s even found his team questioning him earlier this year, can he respond to them?
Europcar’s Pierre Rolland is in good shape but he’s one of those steady climbers. How will he cope with the darting attacks from Team Colombia’s climbers? Vini Fantini will hope late recruit Stefano Garzelli will shine. Androni Giocatolli-Venezuela bring a team as busy as their jersey with Emmanuele Sella, Franco Pellizotti, Miguel Rubiano and Jackson Rodriguez and often do better than expected in team time trials. Rusvelo are half the Russian track squad on the road and also outsiders for the team time trial.
The full start list is available online at girodeltrentino.com
Is the Giro del Trentino a form guide to the Giro… d’Italia? With the three week grand tour just 18 days away there’s not much time to improve form but note that’s 18 days to the start. The Giro is always backloaded with the mountains featuring in the last week which is still over 30 days away. So what we see this week is not going to be the same as what will come in the Giro. Plus some riders might prefer to ease up rather than force themselves into a state of catabolic exhaustion.
In 2003 Gilberto Simoni won both races but he’s from the Trentino region so perhaps the correlation was altered by his local motivation. The feat was copied by Damiano Cunego in 2004 although he lives next to the Trentino region. Since then only Michele Scarponi has done the double in 2011. The Giro del Trentino is defined by the mountains so it rewards pure climbers whilst the Giro places more weight on individual time trials, no more than this year’s edition with its 55.5km time trial on Stage 8.
In short, watch for the riders on the mountain stages as there’s little room to hide and whoever wins stakes a good claim for the Giro, if not the for the pink jersey in 40 days’ time then the mountains jersey.