Giro d'Italia 2011 Preview and Predictions
The 2011 Giro d'Italia will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.
stage. Anyone who is serious about winning this year's Giro must be in the lead group at the finish. The day after this stage will be the 2011 Giro's first rest day.
Stage 10 will be a sprinters' stage. The flat, 159-km run from Teroli to Teramo will have only one categorized climb, a Category 4, which will occur 30 km into the stage. Nothing will prevent the sprinters' teams from controlling the race so that their fast men can win it.
A breakaway should take Stage 11. The 142-km ride from Teramo to Castelfidardo will feature four Category 4 ascents, which should facilitate breakaways. One of these breaks will stick, and a GC contender could be in it.
Stage 12 will be a sprinters' paradise. The flat, 184-km run from Castelfidardo to Ravenna will have no categorized climbs. The sprinters' teams will have few problems reeling in breaks and setting up their men for the win.
Stage 13 will be the first of three days of racing that could be decisive. The 167-km ride from Spilimbergo to Grossglockner will take the racers into Austria, where the stage will end. After tackling two Category 2 climbs and one Category 3 ascent, the riders will battle to the summit finish. A no-hope climber might take the stage, but the fight among the GC contenders will say much about who will win the 2011 Giro.
Stage 14 will return the riders to Italy. The 210-km ride from Lienz, Austria to Zoncolan will feature six categorized climbs, the last of which, the Category 1 ascent to the finish, will be the hardest. Again, a pure climber might take the stage, but the real race will be among the GC contenders behind him.
Stage 15 will be the 2011 Giro's queen stage. The 229-km ride from Conegliano to Gardeccia Val di Fassa will feature four Category 1 climbs, the last of which will be the ascent to the finish. A daylong break full of climbers might take the day's honors, while behind, the GC contenders brawl for the maglia rosa. The race's second rest day will follow this stage.
Stage 16 will not be as dramatic as the three stages preceding it, but it could be just as important. The 12.7-km mountain time trial from Belluno to Nevegal will give those who combine time trialing and climbing a chance to take time out of their rivals. A rider such as Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) could have an advantage in this stage.
After the four stages before it, Stage 17 will seem easy to the riders. It will not be a picnic, however. The 230-km ride from Feltre to Tirano will feature a Category 2 and a Category 3 climb that will permit no hopers to escape. After the four stages before Stage 17, the peloton will be happy to let them go.
Stage 18 will be another stage that a breakaway will decide. The 151-km ride from Morbegno to San Pellegrino Terme will feature one Category 1 ascent followed by a descent to the finish. Look