Giro d’Italia 2015 Corsa: The PEZ First Look!
When 2015 Giro d’Italia route was announced last October our most experienced Grand Tour reporter, Ed Hood, gave us his first look (full preview next Wednesday). This year’s Italian tour is mostly in the north, but in Ed’s own words: “There’s something for everyone in the 2015 Giro!”
There’s something for everyone in the 2015 Giro, a TTT, mountains aplenty, sprinter fests, breakaway stages and a ‘throwback’ long time test to make sure the climbers really have to ‘go for it’ and carve big chunks of time in the mountains. Check out the 21 stage profile, and scroll to the bottom for the full course map.
Stage One, Saturday 9th May – San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo 18 K (TTT):
The 18-kilometre team time trial from San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo will run along the Riviera dei Fiori bike path, a former coastal railway track.
Flat, fast, spectacular – and more than one rider has lost a Grand Tour in an early TTT.
Stage Two, Sunday 10th May – Albenga to Genoa 173 K (sprinter stage):
There’s a bump or two but the sprinters teams will be feral this early; the real fast men will have ridden the TTT hard – a win here could mean pink in this famous seafaring and ship building city.
Stage Three, Monday 11th May – Rapallo to Sestri Levante 136 K (mountain stage):
It’s perhaps over-dramatising to say that the Giro could be lost on the third day, the 40 K descent to the finish should ensure that any GC contender on a bad day can get back – but there’ll be at least one ‘Big’ pondering after this tough jag.
Stage Four, Tuesday 12th May – Chiavari to La Spezia 150 K (medium mountain stage):
A roller coaster for the breakaway into Ale Jet Petacchi’s home town, the jersey will change hands. The Pez posted one of his Top Rides in the local hills here.
Stage Five, Wednesday 13th May – La Spezia to Abetone 152 K (mountain stage and finish):
The real serious stuff kicks off as the percorso leaves the sea behind and forces into Italia’s mountainous spine, the Appenines.
This is the first mountain top finish – “Gruppetto !”
Stage Six, Thursday 14th May – Montecatini Terme to Castiglione della Pescaia 181 K (sprinter stage):
It’s lumpy in the middle but with that flat run in it’s one for the fast twitch men.
Stage Seven, Friday 15th May – Grosseto to Fiuggi 236 K (transition stage):
Rolling; it should be one for the breakaway, but those sprinters . . . .
Stage Eight, Saturday 16th May – Fiugi to Campitello Matese 188 K (mountain stage and finish):
The second mountain top climax and with three categorised climbs it’s a savage day at the office – and we’re heading south, so it’s getting hotter by the day.
Stage Nine, Sunday 17th May – Benevento to San Giorgio Del Sannio 212 K (mountain stage):
A ‘toughie’ without an inch of flat road as the Giro reaches the ‘turn’ as they say in English time trialling before heading north again – this is as far south as we go and isn’t the stage to have a bad day.
Rest Day One, Monday 18th May:
Good to see the rest day not used for some hideous transfer but we do move north east to the Adriatic coast.
Stage 10, Tuesday 18th May – Civitanova Marche to Forli 195 K (sprinter stage):
We’re on the Adriatic coast running now, rolling north and flat past those endless beaches with the breakaway doomed from the minute they go up the road – but that’s show biz . . .
Stage 11, Wednesday 19th May – Forli to Imola 147 K (transition stage):
It rolls early and there’s a hill on the Imola motor race circuit where it finishes with three laps of the track – but bearing in mind Degenkolb and Bouhanni were top ten in the Worlds it could just come down to a fast man shoot out, again.
Stage 12, Thursday 21st May – Imola to Vicenza 190km (mountain stage and finish):
I’ll allow the Giro organisation to tell you about this one for a change; ‘a stage with two very different characteristics. The first 130km are perfectly flat, crossing the Pianura Padana to reach the Colli Euganei (Castelnuovo) and the Monti Berici. From here it’s up the Crosara climb from Mossano – 1500m long and with a gradient between 12 and 15% (max 18%) – and the Fimon-Perarolo climb will take the group towards the Monte Berico Sanctuary, at the top of the final climb which is slightly longer than 1km and with peak gradient of 10%.’
Stage 13, Friday 22nd May – Montecchio Maggiore – Jesolo 153km (sprinter stage):
It’s short, fast and pan flat until the arrivo where anything but a bunch sprint would be a real surprise.
Stage 14, Saturday 23rd May – Treviso – Valdobbiadene 59,2km (Individual Time Trial):
A chrono of two halves; the first 30km rise very gently, whilst the second half – of almost the same length – is all about continuous technical climbs and descents – there are even KOM points on the first climb after Conegliano. This is a throwback to the days when TT distances like this were just part of the Grand Tour deal – but in 2015 it’s guaranteed to give the pure climbers a sleepless night or two.
Stage 15, Sunday 24th May – Marostica – Madonna di Campiglio 165km (mountain stage and finish):
Starting from Marostica, famed for it’s chess game which features human pieces, there’s little scope for games of the mind in the actual stage. You’re either going to get over the three tough climbs with the leaders or you’re not. It’s a tough mountain stage with a total of around 4000m of climbing, there’s the Fricca in the first part of the stage, then the Passo Daone (max gradient 14%) and the Madonna di Campiglio to finish.
Rest Day Two, Monday 25th May:
Again, the riders are spared any rest day hassles before the end game begins.
Stage 16, Tuesday 26th May – Pinzolo to Aprica 175 K (mountain stage and finish):
The organisers may be telling us that this is a percorso which will allow riders to consider a Giro/Tour double; but there are still days like this with five brutal ascents including the Mortirolo and a long drag to the finish in Aprica – a killer day.
Stage 17, Wednesday 27th May – Tirano to Lugano 136 K (sprinter stage):
It’s not flat but the GPM is early and the sprinters need pay back for all that time in the autobus.
Stage 18, Thursday 28th May – Melide to Verbania 172 K (mountain stage):
An unusual one, it ambles around Lake Maggiore before rearing above lakeside Verbania to the GPM of the day then plunging back to the town – if you can’t descend it’ll be a horrible last 20 minutes . . .
Stage 19, Friday 29th May – Gravellona Toce to Cervinia 236 K (mountain stage and finish):
This is another killer day in the saddle with the Saint-Bathelemy and the Cole de Saint-Pantaleon climbs before a final grind to Cervinia.
Stage 20, Saturday 30th May – Saint Vincent to Sestriere 196 K (mountain stage and finish):
Perhaps the organisers were listening to that Vanessa Williams song, ‘Save the Best for Last’ when they designed this one; just under 200 K with the huge 18km Colle delle Finistre – the top half on dirt road – and as the highest point of the race at 2178 metres the the ‘Cima Coppi’ before the final mountain top finish at Sestriere.
It could all come down to this day – especially if the weather is unkind.
Stage 21, Sunday 31st May – Torino to Milano 185 K (sprinter stage):
This one is as flat as they come – with the final circuits in Milano giving the sprinters the last word.
A Giro for the ‘complete’ rider – and please don’t ask the winner about riding the Tour as soon as he climbs off his bike . . .
2015 Giro d’Italia promo:
That’s our first look at the 2015 Giro d’Italia, there will be loads more to come on the Italian Grand Tour. First up will be a full Giro’15 preview from Ed Hood next Wednesday, so keep it PEZ.
It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,100 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.