Monday, May 13, 2013

STAGE 10 Preview 2013 Giro d'Italia

Belkov gets his first win
Congratulations to Katusha’s second stage winner, Russian Maxim Belkov for his 1st career win on Sunday. Another wet, technical stage where descending skills came into play and Bradley Wiggins struggled.  Like stage 7 I thought it was thrilling start to finish. Stefano Pirazzi stamped his mark on the mountain jersey competition, but will find defending it through the Alps to be a full-time job. Wilco Kelderman held on to the young rider’s jersey, and Cadel Evans showed his good form getting into second place and taking the points jersey away from Cavendish. Now the first rest day and then into the Alps. If I wasn’t typing I’d be wringing my hands in anticipation.


The first rest day is behind them. The long TT is behind them. The nervous stages are behind them. And Ahead of them? Ahead lie the hungry, waiting giants. The unforgiving Alps. Tomorrow’s stage 10 takes the riders 167 kilometers from Cordenons to Altopiano del Montasio in the northeast by the Slovenian border, and not far from the Austrian border. They will climb the category 1 Passo Cason di Lanza about two-thirds of the way through the stage and finish atop the cat. 1 Altopiano del Montasio (where you can ski between Italy and Slovenia).  A climber’s stage to be sure, and the first to test the legs before the mighty Dolomites.

The main climb of the Cason di Lanza is no slouch at 15.4 km averaging about 6% but hitting sections as steep as 16% midway up.  Right in the middle the climb is interrupted by a 2km descent, which explains the relatively low average gradient of 6% for the overall climb. It then kicks up again through the steepest sections to the top. It has some long sections of 10%+ grades, including 2 ½ kms early on at over 10.3% and, after the 2km descent they’ll hit about 5kms of very steep grades. It stays fairly steep most of the way to the top, but then levels out for approximately the last kilometer to the line.
The final climb

The Altopiano climb makes up the last 22kms of the stage.  The climb begins immediately after the long descent to Chiusaforte, starts up a long, shallow ascent then climbs up to the ski resort to 1555 meters above sea level. The serious part of the climb is measured 10.9 km averaging 7.8%. Maxes of 20% will drain the peloton’s legs before the much easier finale. This will be the pure climbers chance to show their stuff. The locals (like Franco Pellizotti) will also want to impress their home fans. But if anyone is looking to gain time on Nibali, they better eat their Wheaties.  


LIKELY PICKS: Domenico Pozzovivo, Vincenzo Nibali, Cadel Evans
DARK-HORSE PICK: Yuri Trofimov
MY PICK:  Lampre mountain veteran Michele Scarponi

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