What's Cool In Road Cycling

GIRO’04: PEZ Rides Prologue!

The Giro d’Italia starts up Saturday in the Mediterranean port city of Genova – last used as a prologue in 1992, when Thierry Marie (remember him?) took the win ahead of Big Mig. But Genova has been a favorite stop of the Giro since1909, and has hosted 40 stages in all – the most recent in 2000, when Alvaro Gonzales de Galdeano arrived 1st (watch for our PEZ-Clusive interview with his bro Igor in the days to come…)

Match the numbers to the pictures below!

PEZ-Man Alessandro Federico was in Genova recently to scope the course, and give us a pigeon’s eye-view of what the riders will face on Saturday. The course is 6.9km and should take around 8:00 minutes to complete, but includes a couple of short steep climbs, and 31 turns – so bad bike handlers beware!

An original “genovese”, Alessandro grew up in the seaside city: “I remember when I lived there I liked to walk through the narrow streets on Sunday morning when there was no traffic, eating a slice of focaccia (a sort of pizza without cheese and tomato made in a soft dough covered by so much Ligurian olive oil). I’d walk to the sea by these streets, feel the strong wind blowing through my hair, looking the old harbour, the Lanterna (the high lighthouse in front of the city), the big cruiseships leaving the pier and over there the white Alps looking at the blue Mediterranean sea (the famous blue Genova or, if you prefer, blue Jeans).”

1. This year the Prologue TT will start and finish in the Piazza della Vittoria, the largest square of the city. It was built during the era of fascism to greet thousands of soldiers enjoying a new victory. Today it’s a big car park… how time changes the human attitude!

2. You have immediately to be ready for the 3–4% of Via XX Settembre where you can find so many “Daily Distractions” during Saturday afternoon!

3. After 600m you are in Piazza De Ferrari, the meeting point of the teenagers and the start the most interesting part of the TT route with…

4. Via XXV Aprile and …

5. Via Garibaldi the narrow streets with some “Italian pavи”. Simoni will have no time to feel the smell of the sea eating one “focaccia” there.

6. You have to face 6 bends in no more than 1 kilometre and after the last one you will find the old harbour in Caricamento.

7. At that point the riders will have to come back to Piazza della Vittoria through Carignano hill, and so, just a look to the cathedral San Lorenzo (#7)

8. … before finding Via Fieschi that is an 8% climb.

Downhill (one bend is quite difficult) and you will be again in Via XX Settembre on the other side of the street hammering like a mad soccer fan for the first rose.

Welcome people! to this crazy rollercoaster – a mix of modern and ancient, of cross roads and bends, narrow streets and stones, and smell of the sea and taste of focaccia.. This is what an original “Genovese” cannot forget!

Buona fortuna tutti!
– Alessandro

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