Giro d'Italia 2011 Preview and Predictions
The 2011 Giro d'Italia will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.
The 2011 Giro d'Italia will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. In honor of this epic event, the racers will ride 3,522.5 km. They will tackle nine mountain stages with 21 Category 1 or 2 climbs and seven mountaintop finishes. In addition, the riders will take on three time trials. The race might be as epic as the event that it celebrates.
The 2011 Giro will begin in northern Italy with a 19.3-km team time trial from Venezia Reale to Turin. The course will be flat and a little technical, but a well-drilled squad should post a good time. The stage will provide an early test of team strength.
Stage 2 will be a flat, 244-km run from Alba to Parma. The GC contenders will not show their faces at the front, but the sprinters will. The day will come down to a cavalry charge, which a sprinter such as Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) or Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) should win.
Stage 3 will be a little hillier than Stage 2, but probably nothing that the sprinters cannot handle. The 173-km ride from Emilia to Rapallo will feature a Category 3 and a Category 4 ascent in the last 40 km. A sprinter who can climb, such as Mark Cavendish, should take this one.
Stage 4 will be about as hilly as Stage 3. In other words, a sprinter should dominate the 216-km run from Quarto del Valle to Livorno. They will have to get over a Category 4 ascent 20 km before the finish, but they should do so and fight for the win.
Stage 5 should be won by someone whose name is not Cavendish, Farrar, or Petacchi. The 191-km ride from Piombino to Orvieto will feature two Category 3 ascents, along with a host of smaller climbs and an uphill finish. Someone who is not a sprinter should be able to take this one.
Escapees should snare Stage 6. The 216-km run from Orvieto to Fiuggi Terme has only one categorized climb--a Category 4--but the rolling terrain will facilitate escapes, and one of these should stay away. A no-hope worker bee is likely to win the day.
Stage 7 will end with the 2011 Giro's first mountaintop finish. The 110-km ride from Maddaloni to Montevirgine di Mercogliano will feature two Category 2 climbs. The finish line ascent will see the GC contenders test each other, but no one will gain much time on the others. A no-hope climber might take this stage.
Stage 8 will be another sprinters' stage. The flat, 217-km run from Sapri to Tropea will feature no categorized climbs, so teams such as Garmin-Cervelo and HTC-Highroad should dominate the finish. And yes, someone named Cavendish, Farrar, or Petacchi should win.
Stage 9 will be the first stage in which the road turns seriously skyward. The 169-km ride from Messina to Mount Etna will feature two Category 1 ascents. The riders will tackle Europe's tallest active volcano twice--once in midstage and once at the end. The second of the 2011 Giro's mountaintop finishes will take place on this