GIRO Rest Day #3: Bressanone
Third and last rest day of Giro d’Italia
Bressanone/Brixen, 23 May 2016 – After fifteen stages, the 99th Giro d’Italia remains fascinating. Has Steven Kruijswijk already won it?, wonder the critics who underestimated him at the time of naming the pre-race favourites. The Dutchman has an advantage of 2’12” over up and coming Maglia Rosa contender Esteban Chaves whose popularity is on the rise all over the planet, 2’51” over Vincenzo Nibali who is urged by the tifosi to make it up for the time lost on the uphill time trial to Alpe di Siusi, and 3’29” over Alejandro Valverde who went through mixed feelings during the weekend of hard racing in the natural beauty of the Dolomites.
The Alps are yet to come and the highest altitudes are yet to be reached. In its second week, a few of the GC contenders were forced to pull out of the Giro d’Italia due to sickness: Mikel Landa, Tom Dumoulin and Ryder Hesjedal. Underdogs Rafal Majka, Ilnur Zakarin and Bob Jungels who came of age haven’t said their last word as they still eye at the final podium on May 29 in Turin.
After the last rest day in Trentino Alto Adige, stage 16 will depart from Bressanone/Brixen to arrive in Andalo after a relatively short day: 132km.
Maglia Rosa (pink), General Classification, sponsored by Enel – Steven Kruijswijk (Team Lotto NL – Jumbo)
Maglia Rossa (red), Sprint Classification, sponsored by Algida – Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek – Segafredo)
Maglia Azzurra (blue), Mountains Classification, sponsored by Banca Mediolanum – Damiano Cunego (Nippo – Vini Fantini)
Maglia Bianca (white), Young Rider Classification, sponsored by Eurospin – Bob Jungels (Etixx – Quick-Step)
1 – Steven Kruijswijk (Team Lotto NL – Jumbo)
2 – Esteban Chaves (Orica Greenedge) at 2’12”
3 – Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) at 2’51”
4 – Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) at 3’29”
5 – Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) at 4’38”
Stage 16 – Bressanone (Brixen) – Andalo – 132km
The stage is short, yet features long climbs and descents. Over the first 40km, the route runs initially downhill (although the road is deceptively flat) until past Bolzano (intermediate sprint). Here, after clearing the Mendel Pass climb, the road takes a long, undulating descent leading to the foot of the final ascent. The climb is in two parts, the first leading to Fai della Paganella (categorised climb), and the second running all the way up to the finish. 200m before the summit, in the urban area of Fai della Paganella, the climb gradient peaks as high as 15%.
The final 10km are clearly divided into two halves: first a fast-running descent (4km) on wide roads with sharp downhill gradients, then a mild climb (6km), growing steeper, up to 2km from the finish. Next comes a false-flat uphill drag. The finish line lies on an 80m long and 7m wide asphalt home stretch, running gently uphill.
POINTS OF INTEREST
BRESSANONE/BRIXEN – km 0
Brixen is a charming, major city of the autonomous province of Bolzano. Historically, it is the capital of the district of the Eisacktal, at the confluence between the Rienz and Eisack rivers. It was the seat of the large ecclesiastical state of the “prince-bishops” for 800 years. The oldest district of the city is surrounded by a line of walls, and can be accessed via three main gates. Brixen’s monuments include the Duomo and its cloister, the fortified Bishop’s Palace and the Museo Diocesano. Via dei Portici Maggiori is considered as the heart of the city, and is lined with original, well-preserved mediaeval buildings.
Winter sports are very popular here, especially around and about the Plose Group (2,562m), which rises very close to the city. Outstanding sights include the marvellous, imposing and ancient Augustinian Abbey of Neustift (Novacella), in the municipal district of Varna. Reinhold Messner, a famous mountaineer, explorer and writer, is a Brixen native (1948).
In 2009, the city hosted the start of stage 6, finishing in Mayrhofen (Austria), with victory going to Michele Scarponi. This will be its second Giro stage start.
CHIUSA/KLAUSEN – km 10
Home to the prominent Säben Abbey.
BOLZANO/BOZEN (intermediate sprint) – km 38
The provincial capital Bolzano (intermediate sprint) is the point where northern European and Mediterranean cultures come together; a historical district brimming with artistic and architectural splendour. Major landmarks include the 16-century Duomo, an excellent example of Gothic architecture. Piazza Walther and the ancient Via dei Portici are considered the heart of the city.
Notable citizens include cyclists Antonella Bellutti, individual pursuit gold medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and points race gold medallist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics; and Manuel Quinziato, professional rider since 2002. The city has hosted 13 Giro stage finishes. Bolzano was also hometown to diving aces Klaus Dibiasi and Tania Cagnotto, as well as to winter sports specialists, cousins Isolde (Alpine skiing) and Carolina (figure skating) Kostner, with their outstanding records of achievements.
APPIANO SULLA STRADA DEL VINO / EPPAN – km 48
The town is composed of a number of hamlets, covered in vineyards and orchards, and dotted with elegant, picturesque buildings. The route winds its way through a charming landscape.
PASSO DELLA MENDOLA / MENDELPASS (KOM) – km 64
This mountain pass has often been featured in the Giro d’Italia course, and has been the venue for motorsport competitions.
RUFFRÉ – km 67 and FONDO – km 74
The road drops down into the Val di Non, amid the apple orchards (the area’s major crop), all the way to Fondo. Located in the upper valley, the town is a major holiday destination. It was home to the futurist painter, sculptor and designer Fortunato Depero (1892-1960).
CLES (intermediate sprint) – km 93
The route cuts across some picturesque villages, including Revò; a hamlet overlooking the lake fed by River Noce, with two distinctive bell towers. Next on the stage course is Cles (intermediate sprint). Located at the centre of the Non Valley, the town lies in a wide plateau, overlooking the lake of Santa Giustina. The old town is rich in late-Gothic buildings, influenced by the Venetian Renaissance. The castle of Cles rises on the top of a promontory.
Cles was hometown to cycling ace Maurizio Fondriest (1965), 1988 Professional World Champion and 1993 Milano-Sanremo winner (just to mention a few of his achievements). Cles hosted one Giro stage finish, in 1980, won by Giuseppe Saronni.
DERMULO – km 97
The route cuts across the wide floor of the Val di Non, among the countless villages rising on the surrounding upland. Bound by the Anauni Mountains on the east and by the Brenta Dolomites on the west, it borders with Val d’Ultimo and the Alto Adige. The valley has become famous for the production of Golden Delicious apples commercially known as Melinda (the first PDO label given to a fruit).
FAI DELLA PAGANELLA (KOM) – km 122
The Fai della Paganella climb rises steadily, in the unique natural landscape of the Etschtal and Piana Rotaliana, underneath. The town is a major holiday destination and ski area, offering countless possibilities for sports, leisure and entertainment, both in winter and summer.
ANDALO (KOM) – km 132
The town is surrounded by the Paganella massif (2,125m) and by the unique rocky profile of the Brenta Dolomites with Piz Galin (2,442m) in the foreground, and Cima Tosa, the highest point in the Brenta Group (3,173m), in the background. The old town centre has retained its original mediaeval look and structure. The local ski area is a perfect destination for winter tourism, while in the summertime, the territory offers hiking, walking, cycling and mountaineering.
The karst lake of Andalo grows and shrinks based on the season and the rainfall. A cycle path runs round around the lake; in the wintertime, it becomes an illuminated cross-country skiing ring.
Andalo was finish location of stage 18 (starting from Verona) in the 1973 Giro d’Italia. Victory went to Eddy Merckx.
TV coverage of the 99th Giro d’Italia will reach all four corners of the world: 184 countries will see the Corsa Rosa on 29 different networks, 24 of them live.
RAI – Radio Televisione Italiana, the longstanding host broadcaster, provides extensive coverage of the Corsa Rosa. The action is live in three separate programmes: “Prima diretta” (“Pre-Live”) on Rai Sport 1, “Giro in diretta” (“Giro Live”) at 15:10 – 16:15 in simulcast on Rai 3 and Rai HD, and “Giro all’arrivo” (“Giro on the Finish Line”), with the last hour of racing until 17:15. The traditional post-race analysis programme “Processo alla Tappa” (“The Stage on Trial”) ends at 18:00.
When the race reaches Italy, the stage start will be covered in Rai Sport 1’s “Giro Mattina” (“Giro Morning”), showing the signing in ceremony, with interviews, the start of racing, and local colour. The strand “Journey through the Italy of the Giro d’Italia” will show historical and cultural anecdotes and features.
For viewers unable to watch the stage live in the afternoon, the evening show TGiro (“Giro Bulletin”) will tell the story of the day’s racing from 20:00 on Rai Sport 1, followed by Giro Notte (“Late Night Giro”), with 90’ of stage highlights from 22:45 on Rai Sport 2. The Corsa Rosa will be streamed on the website www.rai.tv.
AROUND THE WORLD
In Italy the Giro can also be seen live on Eurosport, broadcasting to 53 countries across Europe from 14:15, with race commentary in 19 languages.
In France, the stages are live exclusively on beINSports, with reports and features from the scene.
The Dutch public broadcaster NOS is showing three hours of live racing of the first three stages in the Netherlands, as well as the final 90 minutes of the weekend stages in Italy, plus daily highlights of every stage.
Free to air race coverage is live in Flemish via VRT, in Danish on TV2 Denmark, in Switzerland via SRG SSR, in Spain via Teledeporte and EITB and in Kazakhstan, in highlights, on Kaz Sports.
The Corsa Rosa is live in South America on ESPN, with Portuguese commentary in Brazil, English commentary in the Caribbean and Spanish across the rest of South America. Colombian fans have a wide range of options, with live coverage on RCN and Señal Colombia. TDN is showing the race live in Mexico and Central America. beIN Sports is covering the Giro in the United States of America and RDS is providing French-language coverage in Canada.
The Giro d’Italia is also on the small screen in the Middle East and North Africa thanks to live coverage on beIN Sports, while in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa the Giro is on the Supersport channels.
In Asia, the Corsa Rosa in available in 16 countries via Eurosport Asia Pacific; J Sports is covering the race live and exclusive in Japan. LeTV is doing the same in China.
Race highlights are on FPT Telecom in Vietnam, while the Thai public can enjoy the key parts of the stage on both True Visions and NOW26.
The huge interest that Australia has shown in the Giro continues in 2016: SBS is showing all 21 stage live, while Fox Sports is showing highlights. In New Zealand, Sky is showing the race live and in highlights.
Finally, the Corsa Rosa is being shown worldwide via SNTV – Sports News Television and Sport24, the 24 hour sports channel for airline and cruise ship passengers.