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GIRO ’05: Analyze This!

The word from Italy is that the 2005 Giro will be a great battle, going right the wire – we should know since we recruited former Giro rider Alessandro Pozzi and his bike-shop owner partner Davide Aiani to help us dissect the corsa. Scott Keller dropped by their shop to get the goods…

When I arrived at CicliPozzi today to discuss the route, contenders and pretenders for the 2005 Giro, the basement was packed with chatting Italians – as usual. It’s always cool dropping in there and hearing everyone say “HI SCOTT” all at once! When the smoke finally cleared and people started getting on with their lives, I was in my typical routine of hanging with the owners of CicliPozzi (pronounced Chee-klee Poetsee) Davide and Alessandro.

Davide and Sandro outside their shop CicilPozzi.

Sandro (as Alessandro is called) was a form in the 1980’s, and rode 8 Giros and a few Tours, and now owns a cool bike shop in Monguzzo near Lake Como in northern Italy. Davide loves cycling as much as we do, and is considered a local expert on his country’s national tour.

Chatting with the crew over at CicliPozzi about this years Giro they all agree that it’s one of the hardest they have seen in a while.

The awesome switchbacks leading up the Stelvio.

Alessandro, said at least it doesn’t go to Sicily or Sardinia where it’s “Fa Caldo” (Crazy HOT!) But he did say that the top of Stelvio on stage 14 will be crucial, along with a few other key stages which we talked in more detail with CicliPozzi Co-Owner Davide who knows the route very well himself….

The boys in the basement of CicliPozzi –our PEZ Panel of Experts. Note the classic Italian waving hands.

Too Bad For Petacchi
Davide was looking over the map and course profiles I got at the presentation in Milan and he just kept telling everyone how Petacchi will never get a chance since it is so hilly this year! Everyone keeps saying the Giro has 7 flat stages for him to shine, but really if you look at the profile this thing looks more like an EKG printout than anything else. Davide also said down in the South of Italy where the Giro kicks off the roads are super narrow and twisty so it will be hard for the Fasso train to gather momentum. Those stages are the few flat stages that he will get his chance to wind it up like last year.

Alessandro Pozzi, wearing the backwards cap, rides with 1986 Giro winner Roberto Visentini.

The Real Race Starts Here
The locals agreed the GC part of things won’t even get going until the 11th stage in the Dolomites. That’s where the real “start of the Giro” will be. Looking at the 5 mountain stages you can’t discount any of them being easier than the other, but stage 14, the one that ascends Passo dello Stelvio will be one of the crucial parts of the race.

Stage 14 in the Dolomites – crossing the 2758m Stelvio.

The Stelvio is a gut busting climb with crazy amounts of switchbacks just before you get to the top. Then they will be descending down into Bormio and fighting their way back up to the finish line in Livigno. Everyone here predicts it will be split up pretty good on Stelvio though. I’ve ridden the Stelvio and thought it would be the deciding factor of the race since it is one mean climb, but Davide was looking forward to stage 19 where it finishes on Sestriere.

Stage 19 – includes a gravel road and two climbs up Sestriere – where Chiapucci won his epic stage in the TDF.

The last 8 kms over the Colle di Finestre (before the final ascent up Sestriere) will be dirt at an average of 9%! As the next to last stage Davide said this thing will be going down to the wire with huge attacks since it is one of the most difficult climbs of the Giro at 18.5 k and 9.2% avg gradient! Not only that but its gonna be after 3,300 km’s so whoever’s in the Pink better have some good form going into this last mountain stage….

Giro 1994 – Sestriere: Evgeni Berzin in pink climbs through the sideways blowing snow – the weather in the Alps and Dolomites will be a factor.

Most everyone hanging around the basement of CicliPozzi said this thing will be going down to the wire and a lot of predications were floating around about who would win, and everyone seems to love last year’s wunderkind winner – Damiano Cunego. But this year adding Basso into the mix and a pissed Simoni you have a pretty good battle coming up in May. To add to the fire you have the newspapers trying to pick fights comparing these guys!

The lovely Mrs. Keller poses for a quick shot with Giro fave Ivan Basso at the Presentation.

Sandro’s predictions are Basso Primo, Simoni Secondo, Cunego Terzo. Davide is going with Cunego, Basso, Simoni in a tight battle. A fave of the PEZ hq is also Discovery’s new Giro sensation – Jaroslav Popovych – let’s hope they send him in with a team to win.

Read the 2005 Giro Route Details

For more info, See the Giro Website

See The Giro
Check out Podium Tours for guided trips to the 2005 Giro d’Italia.

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