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100th Giro stage 16: Chiesa in Valmalenco - Bormio 120 km

Stage type: High Mountain
Difficulty: ****
Original stage: Giro 1988 stage 14
Climbs: Aprica (GPM.2), Passo di Gavia (GPM.1)




Overview:
The mountain triplet ends with the easiest stage of the lot. Still, a Gavia descent finish isn't a piece of cake.

Giro of the stage:
The 1988 Giro started in Urbino, and ended in Vittorio Veneto after 21 stages (2 of which divided in 2 sectors, and with no rest days), following a clockwise loop. After the prologue in Urbino, the main features were a 40 km TTT to Vieste, the hilly/mountain stages to Campitello Matese, Selvino, Chiesa in Valmalenco, Bormio, Merano 2000, Innsbruck and Borgo Valsugana, before a MTT to the Valico del Vetriolo and a rather underwhelming finale, with a couple of flat stages before the final ITT in Vittorio Veneto.
With the defending champion Stephen Roche not competing due to an injury, the race was considered very open, with lots of possible candidates: Roberto Visentini and Franco Chioccioli were the only two Italian hopes, while the list of strangers was far more impressive: Erik Breukink, Andrew Hampsten, Urs Zimmermann, Pedro Delgado, Jean-François Bernard, Tony Rominger... even Greg Lemond was there, although just coming back from an injury and allegedly not in full shape. As for the stage hunters, Johan Van Der Velde and Moreno Argentin were there, as always.
Bernard won the prologue and wore pink until stage 4, were Massimo Podenzana took it thanks to a breakaway. He kept it for quite a long time, even surviving the first MTF to Campitello Matese, won by Chioccioli. He lost it on the stage to Selvino, won by Hampsten, when Chioccioli himself got the jersey. The following stage, to Chiesa in Valmalenco, was won by Rominger, with Chioccioli keeping the jersey.

Stage of the stage:
Nowadays the Gavia is considered a classic climb, but actually it was previously used only once in the Giro, in 1960. It was a terrible climb for the time standards, not just because of the length, gradient and altitude, but especially because of the fact that it was partially unsurfaced. This was considered a key stage at the start of the Giro, and GC riders were looking forward to it. On the night before the stage it snowed on the Gavia, but the road had been cleared in the morning and after extensive discussions between organizers and team directors it was decided to proceed with the stage as planned.
On the climb to Aprica there is already a good selection in the peloton, but everything comes together pretty quickly, as the weather starts to get worse. It rains now, and the wind is already very cold. Most of the riders wear standard jerseys, a totally insufficient gear for that day. The peloton however reaches Ponte di Legno without big problems and starts climbing the Gavia. Almost immediately Van Der Velde attacks and breaks away alone. The tarmac ends, and the mud replace it. Soon the rain becomes snow, and the snow becomes a full blizzard. At the top there are -5 °C, the wind blows terribly and visibility is almost nil. There are today many reports of this famous stage, but not many of them have any clue of what happened to the race itself from the final 5 kms to the Gavia on. Of course there's no TV signal, the spectators, mechanics and team directors soon become too busy helping the riders to care about the race situation at all. Van Der Velde reaches the top first, that much is known, but he is already risking hypothermia, and the worst is yet to come: the descent. Soon he has to stop and step inside the camper of a spectator to get warm and disappears from the race. Behind him, Hampsten gets the lead. On the descent the spectators he meets are not even sure the race is still on. They are walking in the middle of the road as if they're lost. Hampsten even finds a mechanic lost in the blizzard, wandering with two wheels on his shoulder, swearing at his team director who left him there, apparently. Most of the riders abandon, or step into cars to get warm and continue their descent again. Some of them stop descending a climb a little on the opposite way to feel warm. Hampsten only has one gear available, as his gearbox is frozen, and its a very short gear, so he can keep pedalling during all the descent. The pink jersey, Chioccioli, is totally left on his own, since his admiral is assisting his teammates behind him. At 6 kms to go, somebody unexpectedly overtakes Hampsten: it is Breukink, who goes on and wins the stage, with only 7" over Hampsten. Both of them are in horrible conditions. Hampsten will realize to have won the pink jersey only later, after being in the warm team car for some time. Behind the first two there's the void. the third coming is the Italian Stefano Tomasini, at 4'40". Zimmermann and Chioccioli arrive 6th and 7th, at over 5', with the pink jersey almost unconscious. The attenders have trouble to even get him off the bike, his hands frozen firmly to the handlers. Delgado arrives at 7', Bernard at over 9', Visentini and Rominger at around 30'. Van Der Velde reappears at over 45', he will win the points classification of the Giro, and it will be his last major accomplishment.
Hampsten will defend his jersey from Breukink in the following days, and even win the MTT to Vetriolo. He will become the first non-European winner in the Giro history. Breukink and Zimmermann will complete the podium.

Protagonists of the stage:

Erik Breukink:


Andrew Hampsten:


Johan Van der Velde:


Franco Chioccioli:


Next stage:

The greatest show on earth will move to the west coast! :cool:
...this is too easy... :eek:
 
Okay, you once wrote that there are 5-6 stages of my life span and if I'm right there have only been 4 so far: 1998 aprica (although I wasnt really alive back then, but I think thats the reason why you wrote 5-6 stages), 2000 abetone, 2009 roma, 2010 montalcino. I hope I didnt forget one.
That would mean that there are probably still 2 stages between 1999 and 2008 to come. I don't know what the stage on the west coast could be, although its probably obvious, so I don't think it is from my life span. The most obvious choices for me would be sestriere (2005) and oropa (1999) but its not the case because Eshnar wrote that I was false with my original prediction which included these years. So I go for Chianale (2003) and one of the other two (sestriere would be better IMO, but I'd expect the famous pinerolo stage too, so I have basically no idea :D )

edit: or is maybe the stage from 1999 the one to rapallo? I don't know how it was but it would explain why I was almost correct with my first prediction, and then just have chianale and pinerolo as the two final mountain stages. Oh and the reason why I think Chianale is because I think Eshnar once wrote that the profile of the stage is one his absolute favorites.
 
Does the "greatest show" refers by any means to the music festival of San Remo?
Or maybe to the festival of San Remo in the 1974 (?) Giro when Merckx spanked Fuente during a medium mountain stage raced in horrible weather?
 
100th Giro stage 17: Pietra Ligure - Sanremo 189 km

Stage type: Medium Mountain
Difficulty: ***
Original stage: Giro 1974 stage 14
Climbs: Madonna della Guardia (GPM.3), Colle S.Bartolomeo (GPM.3), Colla di Langan (GPM.2), Passo di Ghimbegna (GPM.3)



Overview:

After the final rest day, the 100th Giro starts the last block with a medium mountain stage, very good for breakaways and with some GC potential, too.

Giro of the stage:
Behold the 1974 Giro, widely regarded as one of the best GTs ever, or as "The greatest show on earth", which is the title of the movie-documentary about it.
Starting in Vatican City with a road stage, it had the first serious stage already on stage 3, finishing in Sorrento straight after the Monte Faito. After that, the route went to the Adriatic coast, going north up until the Monte Carpegna, before crossing the Appennines again and have an uphill finish to Il Ciocco and the only ITT of the race, 40 km long, in Forte dei Marmi. After that, a couple of transitional stages (including the one to Sanremo), and then the final week, with the MTFs to Monte Generoso and Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and the final showdown finishing in Bassano del Grappa after 4 passes, including the Monte Grappa itself.
The overwhelming favourite was, as usual, Eddy Merckx, who had won the previous 2 editions in a row (he wore pink every single day in 1973) and was going for his 5th Giro win. His main rivals were also the usual ones: the Italians Felice Gimondi, Constantino Conti and Giovanni Battaglin, as well as the most promising Gianbattista Baronchelli, 21 y.o., winner of the Avenir and Baby Giro in 1973. Of the non-Italians, the most important was by far the Spanish climber José Manuel Fuente. As for the one-day racers, there were Roger De Vlaeminck and Franco Bitossi between others.
Fuente started the Giro in an impressive fashion, winning pretty much every time the road went up: he won immediately in Sorrento, getting the pink jersey. In pink, he won on the Carpegna and Il Ciocco, accumulating more than 2' of an advantage over Merckx. In the ITT, Fuente pulled off his best ever performance against the clock, losing barely 2' to the Cannibal, and keeping the lead for a few seconds. The GC was then pretty open coming into stage 14.

Stage of the stage:
As it is often the case when it comes to epic stages, it rains hard. Merckx looked somewhat weak on stage 13, so Fuente's team, KAS, starts the stage at a hard pace. However, after only 15 kms Merckx decides that he had enough and attacks. One of Fuente's domestiques, José Luis Uribezubia, follows him. The two go alone for all the first climb, the peloton chasing them, and they are caught shortly after the descent. The peloton is already very thin, the fast start has caught a lot of people off guard. The peloton however slows down a bit, there's a breakaway forming and all seems to calm down. The heat builds up again during the approximation to the Colla di Langan: Fuente has a mechanical, and Merckx accelerates. His team however brings him back without too many problems. Fuente seems more than fine, so KAS decide to counterattack: on the climb, Uribezubia and Fuente's best domestique, Vicente López Carril, attack, and they break away together with two Italians, Giuseppe Perletto and Wladimiro Panizza. The move works well, and the 4 riders quickly gain minutes and get to the front of the race. Near the top of the Langan, the young prodigy Baronchelli attacks and breaks away alone, quite ignored by the favourites. At the start of the last climb of the day the 4 riders in front have around 2-3 minutes over Baronchelli and almost 4 minutes over the main peloton, where Merckx's team, Molteni, starts to pull hard. At little over 30 kms to go, Merckx attacks and this time is serious, because all the other favourites go with him while Fuente blows up in his usual, unexpected and spectacular fashion. On the top of the final climb the leader are the two Italians Perletto and Panizza, followed by the two KAS at a few seconds, Baronchelli at only 1', and Merckx's GC group at 2'30". Fuente nowhere to be seen. He arrives at the top at over 6'. On the descent Panizza crashes, leaving an uncontested victory to Perletto. In the meantime, Baronchelli bridges to the two KAS and arrives 3rd, at 40", and for a moment it seems he can even wear pink. Merckx's group arrives at 2'18", with the Cannibal in front of the Italian for only 35" in GC. The pink jersey is his, as Fuente arrives with over 10' to the line, totally devastated.
The Giro didn't end there by any means, Fuente will attack almost every day and will be very close to even winning it, while Merckx was also too busy defending his jersey from Gimondi and especially Baronchelli, who will drop him at the Tre Cime and arrive second in GC at only 12", with Gimondi 3rd at 33". Fuente will arrive 5th at 3'22, after being virtual pink at 5 kms to the top of the Monte Grappa.
Merckx will also win the Tour and the WRR that year, making the first Triple in history.

Protagonists of the Stage:

Eddy Merckx:


José Manuel Fuente:


Giambattista Baronchelli:


Next stage:

We make a bit of a longer transfer than usual, and get back to the 3rd millennium.
 
100th Giro stage 18: Santuario di Vicoforte - Chianale (Valle Varaita) 174 km

Stage type:
Mountain Top Finish
Difficulty: *****
Original stage: Giro 2003 stage 17
Climbs: Montemale di Cuneo (GPM.3), Colle d'Esischie (GPM.1), Colle di Sampeyre (GPM.1), Valle Varaita (GPM.2)




Overview:
Prettiest profile ever. I mean, look at it! <3 The Esischie (which is the Fauniera minus the final 2 kms) to make a selection, the Sampeyre to smash the peloton and the final drag to stretch the gaps. <3

Giro of the stage:
The 2003 Giro started in Lecce with a road stage and ended in Milano after the nowadays usual 21 stages and 2 rest days. The first 6 days didn't present major difficulties, with only the tricky finish in Terme Luigiane on stage 3, squeezed between a bunch of sprints, going all the way to Sicily and back to mainland. The first key stage was stage 7, with the MTF to the Terminillo. Later, the dangerous stage to Faenza would lead the riders to the Alps, with the first MTF ever to the Zoncolan (although from the "easy" Sutrio side), a MTF to the Alpe di Pampeago and an ITT between Merano and Bolzano. After the final rest day, the race went west, with the final MTFs to Chianale and Cascata del Toce, before the final ITT in Milano.
The field wasn't particularly great. With the defending champion Paolo Savoldelli out for injury and considering the events of the Giro 2002 (the most "wtf" Giro ever), the most accredited riders were the 2001 winner Gilberto Simoni and the 2000 winner Stefano Garzelli, both of them kicked out the previous edition. Along with them, other possible outsiders were Dario Frigo and Francesco Casagrande. Pantani was also there, as Garzelli's domestique, and as usual nobody had the faintest idea about his shape.
Simoni and Garzelli immediately made clear that they were in charge: Garzelli won in Terme Luigiane, and on the Terminillo they crushed the opposition (all but the surprising veteran Andrea Noè), with Garzelli beating Simoni on the sprint and wearing pink. On the stage to Faenza, however, Simoni attacked with his team and caught Garzelli offguard, taking his pink jersey for only 2''.
After that stage Simoni proceeded to show his superiority, winning on the Zoncolan and gaining around 30'' on Garzelli and a surprisingly good Pantani. He then did exactly the same on Pampeago, and even gained time in the (hilly) ITT of bolzano. Coming into stage 17 he had almost 2' on Garzelli, 2nd in GC, and 4' to the surprising young Ukrainian Jaroslav Popovych. However Garzelli was still within a shot, since the last 2 MTFs were not really steep and that should have favoured him, along with the final flat ITT.

Stage of the stage:
You know this is gonna be good: the weather is bad. During the first half of the stage all goes smoothly... there's a breakaway forming, the peloton rides calmly towards the Esischie. On the climb the tempo raises, but not too much. Even so, Francesco Casagrande (never great in this Giro), between others, is dropped and will retire shortly due to sickness. Near the top also Pantani is dropped, but he'll only lose a few seconds and he'll get back on the descent. At the top of Esischie the breakaway is all over the place, the Austrian Georg Totschnig and the Italian Alessandro Spezialetti are the most active. The Sampeyre starts and the weather gets worse: it rains heavily now. And Simoni attacks. Dario Frigo and Franco Pellizzotti follow him, while Garzelli fails to respond, together with his teammate Pantani. Simoni keeps a steady, quick pace and Pellizzotti drops, while in the GC group Popovych attacks and manages to bridge to Simoni and Frigo, who in the meantime have reached the front of the race, reeling in Totschnig and Spezialetti, with the Italian dropping shortly after. The rains becomes sleet at the top of Sampeyre, the road is covered in a pretty scary thin layer of ice. At the top, the 4 in front have around 50'' on Garzelli's group. It starts the descent and while Simoni, Frigo and Totschnig take it easy, Popovych does not, and he breaks away. Behind, Garzelli tries to force the pace in order to bridge, but he crashes and brings Pantani down with him. Garzelli is not hurt much, he quickly gets on his bike, but Pantani is, and even considers retiring, but after more than 5 minutes sat on the side of the road he is convinced to try to finish the stage. In the meantime, the front group has finished the descent and there's now Popovych alone, who keeps going and is starting to be a threat in GC. Frigo, who wants the stage win, accelerates and brings back Simoni, who's starting to look uncomfortable, while Totschnig is dropped for good. At around 10 kms to go Popovych bonks. Frigo and Simoni bridge to him and quickly drop him, going to the finish together, while the Ukrainian loses chunks of time and is even reeled in and dropped by Totschnig. Behind those 4, there's a small group with Noè, Pellizzotti and the Lithuanian Raimondas Rumsas, all progressively losing time. Garzelli is behind them, with Serhiy Honchar and Sandy Casar. At the finish Frigo wins uncontested, with Simoni happy to have won the Giro. Totschnig arrives at 2'38", Popovych 3'12'', Pellizzotti group at 4', Garzelli at 5', keeping the 2nd place in GC with just a few seconds over Popovych. Pantani arrives at 16', and even so he's 23rd... there are about 30 riders outside the time limit. It's been a pretty tough day.
The rest of the Giro won't say much. On the Cascata del Toce Pantani will try the last attack of his life, but ultimately Simoni will win that stage too. Garzelli will manage to keep the 2nd place for only 5'' over Popovych.

Protagonists of the stage:

Gilberto Simoni
with Dario Frigo:


Stefano Garzelli
and Marco Pantani:


Yaroslav Popovych:



Next stage:
The last MTF of the 100th Giro!
 
100th Giro stage 19: Savigliano - Sestriere 190 km

Stage type: Mountain Top Finish
Difficulty: *****
Original stage: Giro 2005 stage 19
Climbs: Sestriere (GPM.2), Colle delle Finestre (GPM.1), Sestriere (GPM.2)




Overview:
The last MTF of the race, with one of the greatest climbs of pro cycling in perfect position. This is the last "easy" chance for the riders to gain time. It will still be possible in the next stage, but it'll be unlikely.

Giro of the stage:
Aaaaah, the 2005 Giro. The greatest show in the 3rd millennium! :) As well as the best route of any GT of the 3rd millennium. Starting from Reggio Calabria with a 1-km prologue, it had everything. Stage 1 with a tricky finish in Tropea, a hilly finish on stage 3 in Giffoni, an uphill finish in L'Aquila on stage 5, a weekend with a descent finish in Pistoia after the Sammommè and an ITT in Florence, the Dolomites from stage 11, with an awesome stage to Zoldo Alto and a weekend with a MTF to Ortisei and a finish in Livigno after the Stelvio, and finally a third week with a MTF to the Colle di Tenda, an ITT in Torino and the final showdown to Sestriere, before the final parade in Milan.
At the start there were two main favourites: the first was the young defending champion Damiano Cunego, who had a stellar 2004, winning Trentino, Giro and Lombardia, and a very good start of 2005, with a stage win and 2nd overall in Romandie. The second was Ivan Basso, coming from an excellent podium at the 2004 Tour and making his first serious attempt at the pink jersey. Then there was the veteran Gilberto Simoni, still in Cunego's team, Lampre, even after the events of the previous Giro. He also had a very good start of season, winning a stage in PN. A possible outsider was the 2002 winner Paolo Savoldelli, who had lots of problems in 2003 and 2004 and was finally healthy at the Giro for the first time since his win: his actual level was unknown.
Concerning the one-day racers, there was the best, Danilo Di Luca, coming straight from winning AGR, FW and the overall in PV, leader of the Pro-Tour classification. With him was also Paolo Bettini, who didn't have a great classic season, but his shape looked on the rise.
The Giro started with the classic guys as protagonists, as expected given the first week's route. Bettini won in Tropea and got pink, Di Luca won in Giffoni and L'Aquila and took pink from him, managing to lose no time in Pistoia as well. In the Florence ITT, won by David Zabriskie, Basso and Savoldelli arrived 2nd with the same time, putting some serious time on their rivals. Di Luca however lost only little more than a minute, and kept his pink jersey for only 9'' over Basso and 35'' over Savoldelli. Cunego was at 1', Simoni at 2'.
The mountains came on stage 11, and on the Passo Duran the Giro exploded: Cunego sank, losing minutes; Simoni and Basso attacked, followed by Savoldelli, while Di Luca was fighting to save his jersey. On the descent Il Falco stayed true to his nickname, getting a sizable gap. On the final climb Basso dropped Simoni and reached Savoldelli, who won the sprint, with Basso taking pink, with around 20'' over Savoldelli himself. Simoni arrived third, and a mindblowing Di Luca 4th at only 1'. On stage 13, to Ortisei, Savoldelli attacked, followed by Simoni and Di Luca, and Basso unexpectedly struggled, losing a full minute and the pink. All of that while the breakaway, led by the Colombians Ivan Parra and José Rujano, arrived at the finish with a nice gap, Parra winning with a late attack. On the following stage, the drama: Basso got knocked out by (probably) food poisoning on the Stelvio, losing over 40', while on the Eira Savoldelli was dropped by Simoni and Di Luca, who gained 30''. All of this while, in front, Ivan Parra was getting another stage win, again from a breakaway Rujano was in, gaining time in GC and approaching the top-5. Basso recovered in the following days, and on the Colle di Tenda he smashed everyone, winning solo with 1' over Rujano, who was starting to look like a real threat, and Simoni, who gained almost a minute over a struggling Savoldelli. The next stage however was the ITT in Torino (with Superga in the middle), were Basso won again, and Savoldelli gained a minute over Simoni. Coming into stage 19, the situation was looking pretty clear: Savoldelli comfortably in pink, with 2'09" over Simoni, 3' over Rujano and some more over Di Luca. All was set for a suicidal attack by Simoni, with the variable of a Basso who was racing just for the lolz.

Stage of the stage:
The first ascent of Sestriere is pretty uneventful. A breakaway is formed and they quickly gain up to 17 minutes. As the peloton starts approaching Susa, however, Basso's team starts pulling hard, and at the foot of Finestre it seems clear that the breakaway is not going anywhere, and Basso is gonna take off like a jet and win his third stage in a row. At the first slopes of Finestre Basso accelerates, but he quickly realizes that he's a bit too overconfident. The peloton blows up, but he doesn't break away alone, and soon he just shuts down completely. He will later claim that as he realized that he didn't have the legs to win solo, he stopped because he didn't want to decide the Giro by helping any GC guy. However, it was a bit too late to have regrets: the peloton has already split, and Savoldelli is trying to pace himself behind. The difficulties of the pink jersey lead Di Luca to continue Basso's attack, even if there is still a long way to go to the top of the climb. Simoni and Rujano go with him, the former obviously helping and the latter staying in the wheels. Behind, Savoldelli looks worse by the minute, and with no teammates helping him he looks on the verge of losing the whole Giro. As the tarmac becomes sterrato, the trio in front gains more and more time over the pink jersey, who in the meantime finds a few allies, in particular the Colombian Mauricio Ardila. At the top of the climb Simoni is the virtual pink jersey: Savoldelli arrives at the top at +2'20''. On the descent he gains 30'', careful not to drop his new "teammates", and also catches a new potential ally, Serhiy Honchar. On the false flat that follows, Di Luca has cramps, and is dropped by Simoni and Rujano. Behind, Savoldelli's group is always around 1'50", and considering the time bonuses this seems anybody's game. On the increasingly steep slopes of Sestriere, though, Simoni crumbles, and Rujano drops him, ending his dream of the third Giro. Rujano wins solo, and Simoni arrives at 26", followed by Di Luca at 1'35 and Savoldelli's group at 1'55", with Il Falco winning his 2nd Giro with 28'' over Simoni and 45'' over Rujano.

Protagonists of the stage:

José Rujano:


Paolo Savoldelli:


Gilberto Simoni:


Danilo Di Luca:


Next Stage:

You all know it.
 
100th Giro stage 20: Cuneo - Pinerolo 254 km

Stage type: High Mountain
Difficulty: ****
Original stage: Giro 1949 stage 17
Climbs: Colle della Maddalena (GPM.3), Col de Vars (GPM.2), Col d'Izoard (GPM.1), Col de Montgenèvre (GPM.3), Sestriere (GPM.2)




Overview:
The GC battle of the 100th Giro ends here, if it didn't earlier already. If there's any chance for this stage to work at all, in modern times, it is to put it as the last GC stage.

Giro of the stage:
The 1949 Giro started in Palermo with a 261 km road stage to Catania. After 2 stages in Sicily, the route would reach the mainland and go north, with a few long, hard days (like stage 7, Roma - Pesaro, 298 km through the Appennines...), all the way to the Dolomites, with a key stage finishing in Bolzano. After that, the peloton would go south to Tuscany, Liguria and finally Piedmont, were the most feared stage that I'm celebrating today was planned as stage 17, third last stage. The only ITT of the race was immediately afterwards, on stage 18, 65 km between Pinerolo and Torino. Last stage was a parade to Monza.
Without the defending champion Fiorenzo Magni racing, the clear favourites were the usual two: Gino Bartali, winner of the 1948 Tour, and Fausto Coppi, winner of the 1947 Giro.
Coppi started quite well, winning stage 4, but the new dynamics of the race, that for the first time introduced intermediate sprints in the Giro, were new to him and everybody else. In all the early stage the formation of the breakaway was furious and chaotic, and the favourites often ended up losing major time. On stage 9, a major breakaway gave Adolfo Leoni the pink jersey, and coming into the Dolomites the gap in GC between Coppi and the pink was almost 10', and for Bartali was even a bit worse, 11'. Neither of them was really worried, though. In those time 11' weren't that much, with all the mountains to come. Indeed, on the stage to Bolzano, stage 11, Coppi humiliated the field, gaining 8 minutes on the most immediate chasers, featuring the pink jersey Leoni and Bartali, who originally couldn't follow Coppi due to a mechanical, and then went into a pretty bad crisis. Leoni won stage 13, to Montecatini, but his margin in Cuneo was only around a minute over Coppi, with Bartali at around 9 minutes, not even on the podium, so that both of them were expected to unleash hell on the way to Pinerolo.

Stage of the stage:
This stage is of course pretty intimidating on paper, watching the profile today. What the profile doesn't tell you, though, is that pretty much all those roads were unsurfaced at the time. They were all bad roads, full of stones, mud and all sort of difficulties for a bike rider, especially for the bikes they had in those times. This stage was really meant to be as hard as possible. And it was...
The legend says that Coppi was told by his coach NOT to attack with Bartali on his wheel. The reasoning was that Coppi didn't have the acceleration to drop Bartali in a face to face. However, Coppi's main asset was his superhuman TT ability, so if Coppi could get clear of Bartali, there was no way his rival would catch him. Therefore, it shouldn't come as a surprise that when, on the muddy slopes of the Maddalena, Bartali goes to the back of the peloton to deal with an issue with his breaks, Coppi attacks. It doesn't really matter if there are more than 190 km in front of him, he's not going to wait for anybody. As you would expect, the peloton panics and starts to chase, but as Bartali realizes that the pace isn't good enough to match Coppi, he attacks too, a few kms from the top. It's too late though, Coppi's coach was right. The gap between the two increases after every km. Coppi reaches the top of Vars with 4' over Bartali. Behind, the peloton disintegrates into small groups, with the leader Leoni struggling. At the top of the Izoard Coppi has almost 7' over Bartali and more than 10' over the closest chasers. It's just something out of this world. Even the radio broadcast of the race becomes immortal in the Italian history. At the top of Sestriere he has 9' over his rival, with the fans going completely crazy everywhere. He gains almost 3' more on the descent to Pinerolo. Coppi arrives at the finishing line with an overall time of 9h 19′ 55″, Bartali at 11′ 52″! Behind them, a selected group of mere humans, featuring Alfredo Martini, Giordano Cottur, Giulio Bresci and Giancarlo Astrua at 19'45". The pink jersey arrives 8th, with the following group, at 23'37".
Coppi will cruise on the final ITT and win the Giro with 23′ 47” over Bartali in GC, and 38′ 27” over the 3rd, Cottur. Later that year Coppi will humiliate the opposition once more, winning the Tour after being even 37' down in GC at some point, and making the first Double in history.

Protagonists of the stage:

Fausto Coppi:


Gino Bartali:


Adolfo Leoni:


Next stage:

It's probably harder to guess than this one was, but you can do it! :p It's not very famous or anything, but it just makes sense for me to include this one.
 
100th Giro stage 21: Torino - Milano 206 km

Stage type:
Flat
Difficulty: *
Original stage: Giro 1909 stage 8
Climbs: None



Overview:
Final parade for the peloton.

Giro of the stage:

[For those who want an extremely detailed report by Mauro Facoltosi, you have it here, although Italian-only:
http://www.ilciclismo.it/dev/index.php/app/ilciclismo/ilciclismoID/12ruk1v4g496td2gblj2ttceo0/mod/chapters_explorer/chapter_id/796/title/IL-GIRO-DI-CENT-ANNI-FA-di-M--Facoltosi
What follows is my short summary of it]

It was August 5th, 1908, when Angelo Gatti, founder and co-owner of Atala (a bike-manufactor), got the rumour that the big Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera was planning to imitate the Tour de France (started 5 years earlier) by creating a stage race in Italy. Gatti didn't hesitate and called (I mean telegraphed) his friend Tullio Morgagni, chief editor and associate of La Gazzetta dello Sport, a newspaper based in Milano that had already created the Giro di Lombardia and Milano-Sanremo, just a few years earlier. Morgagni urgently called all the other associates, and the following day, August 6th, they held a meeting, and decided to act and announce the race before the Corriere (that later will graciously agree to sponsor it). The official announcement was printed on the Gazzetta on Friday, August 7th. Il Giro d'Italia had been created, the first edition planned to start in less than a year, on Thursday May 13th, 1909.
The first route of the Giro included only 8 stages, to be held in non-consecutive days, in order to let the riders rest after stages that were on average 300 kms long.

1 May 13th Milano > Bologna 397 km
2 May 16th Bologna > Chieti 378.5 km
3 May 18th Chieti > Napoli 242.8 km
4 May 20th Napoli > Roma 228.1 km
5 May 23rd Roma > Firenze 346.5 km
6 May 25th Firenze > Genova 294.1 km
7 May 27th Genova > Torino 354.9 km
8 May 30th Torino > Milano 206 km

The format was quite different to what we're used to. The GC was placements-based, with no time gaps at all: simply, the rider with the lowest aggregated position (1st -> 1 point, 2nd -> 2 pts and so on) in all stages would win the GC.
166 riders signed in, 146 Italians and 20 strangers, the most famous of which was Lucien Georges Mazan, aka "Petit-Breton", winner of the Tour in 1907 and 1908 and of the first ever Milano-Sanremo (1907). Of the Italians, the most prominent ones were the famous Giovanni Gerbi, aka "Diavolo Rosso", Carlo Galetti, multiple winner of the Giro di Sicilia and the Milano-Roma, and Luigi Ganna, winner of the 1909 Milano-Sanremo.
Only 128 riders showed up in Milan for the first stage. The start took place at 2.53 AM (yes, AM), in front of a pretty impressive crowd, considering the circumstances. The first stage wiped out the two most famous riders already: after just over a km there's a mass crash and Gerbi destroys his bike, causing him to look for mechanic at 3 o'clock in the morning :D He will find a Bianchi shop and will manage to ruin the sleep of a mechanic, but he'll be able to restart only 3 hours later. Later in the same stage, Mazan crashes. He'll manage to finish, badly injured, the stage but he won't start stage 2. In Bologna a sudden shower starts just a few minutes before the first selected group of riders (12 units) arrive, and the massive crowd panic and fill up all the covered spots they can find, including the jury stand. In the mess, the judges can barely identify a couple of riders sprinting. The winner is Dario Beni, that much is clear to everybody, while for the other positions the judges have to investigate, asking here and there, to the crowd, to the guys in the cars and to the riders themselves :D
The Giro the proceeds, full of puntures, crashes, mechanicals and all sort of weird and sometimes funny stuff, like riders taking the train for a part of a stage, and being busted by the jury with a surprise checkpoint in the middle of it... Giovanni Cuniolo wins stage 2, where Ganna takes the lead in GC. Giovanni Rossignoli wins stage 3, with Carlo Galetti taking the lead from Ganna, who will retake it, this time for good, after winning stage 4. He will also win stage 5 and 7, while Rossignoli will win stage 6. An interesting anecdote happens at the start of stage 7, in Genova, where the crowd is so big (it is, again, around 3 AM), that the organisers are afraid to let the race start in there, so they decide to let the riders parade until just outside the city, where they will give the actual start. It was the first neutralized start in history, something that will quickly become standard, even today.

Stage of the stage:

The peloton is reduced to only 51 riders starting the final stage. The GC is still open, as Ganna leads with only 3 points of advantage over Galetti. Immediately the race lights up, when a selected group with all the best breaks away. Two of Ganna's teammates, who had retired days earlier, try to sneak in the race and help their captain, but the other riders notice them and call the jury. Nice try though :D Shortly after Arona, the race blows up: Ganna punctures, and the others attack him. He quickly finds himself 2 minutes behind, and it seems all is lost. However, the front group gets stuck behind a rail crossing, in perfect Roubaix style :rolleyes: , and Ganna manages to catch them.
At the finish the crowd is massive, and the finishing straight is "secured" by the army, with lancers charging at the sides of the peloton. Apparently, one of the horses panics and causes a crash in the sprint, and the two that are least affected are Beni, who wins, and Galetti. Ganna arrives third, and even if he's not aware of his position, he wins the Giro with a total of 25 points, against Galetti's 27 and Rossignoli's 40. He will celebrate the triumph with a huge, delighted crowd, parading the city center. The Giro d'Italia was history already.

Protagonists of the stage:

Luigi Ganna:


Carlo Galetti:


 
It's finally over :)

1 Roma - Roma 14.4 km ITT 2009
2 Roma - Napoli 234 km 1951
3 Ercolano - Vesuvio 8 km MTT 1959
4 Caserta - Blockhaus 220 km 1967
5 Pescara - Pesaro 218 km 1927
6 Ancona - Firenze 250 km 1961
7 Lido di Camaiore - Lucca 48 km ITT 1985
8 Prato - Abetone 138 km 2000
9 Carrara - Montalcino 222 km 2010
rest
10 Merano - Monte Bondone 237 km 1956
11 Bassano del Grappa - Treviso 56 km ITT 1970
12 Lido di Jesolo - Sappada 224 km 1987
13 Auronzo di Cadore - Bassano del Grappa 203 km 1946
14 Asiago - Selva di Val Gardena 215 km 1998
15 Merano - Aprica 195 km 1994
16 Chiesa in Valmalenco - Bormio 120 km 1988
rest
17 Pietra Ligure - Sanremo 189 km 1974
18 Santuario di Vicoforte - Chianale 174 km 2003
19 Savigliano - Sestriere 190 km 2005
20 Cuneo - Pinerolo 254 km 1949
21 Torino - Milano 206 km 1909
 
I looked at the giro's in this thread a few times in the last months and I really only have great memories about it. So I just wanted to know if anyone (probably Eshnar) already has plans for a new challenge? :)
 

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