FEATURES: 2013 GIRO D' ITALIA PREVIEW
May 2, 2013


With the 96th edition of Giro d'Italia starting in Naples this Saturday, here's Road Bike Action's preview of the Corsa Rosa. 23 teams of 9 riders will take the Giro start on Saturday, one more than originally planned. The Giro organizers originally excluded Katusha as the Russian team did not have their WorldTour license, but once they got it, the Giro had to include them. Unlike the 2012 edition of the Giro, which was decided by partial time bonuses, the race organizers have wisely reinstated them on all the road stages (1st: 20" / 2nd: 12" / 3rd: 8"), but no bonuses for time trials. For intermediate sprints, bonuses are 6", 4" and 2" for the first three riders.

The Maglia Rosa, styled this year by British fashion designer Sir Paul Smith is the simply of Giro d'Italia leadership, while the Maglia Azzuro, is sponsored by Banca Mediolanum. The Maglia Rosso of Best Sprinter is sponsored by Italian high-speed train Italo with the Maglia Bianca of Best Young Rider offered by fresh fruit distributor Fratelli Orsero.

Il Percorso:
The Giro d'Italia starts in Naples on Saturday, May 4 and concludes on Sunday, May 26 in Brescia as opposed to the usual finish in Milano. For 2013, the Giro d'Italia organizers have plenty of climbing, including seven summit stage finishes as well as the novelty of a 17.4km team time trial on stage 2 on the island of Ischia as well as two individual time trials; a hilly, technical 54.8km test from Gabicce Mare to Saltara on Stage 8 and a crucial 20.6km mountain time trial from Mori to Polsa on Stage 18.


The first week of the Giro d'Italia heads south from Bella Napoli to loop around the toe and across the heel of Italy's boot with some climbing and sprinters stages. Friday 10 May's Stage 7 is a tough test through the hilly hinterland of Chieti province that finishes in Pescara, but it's Saturday's Stage 8 that offers the first major test of the 2013 Giro d'Italia, a twisting, technical 55km individual time trial that winds along the Adriatic coast, then climbs inland to the finish. Stage 8 should be the first stage that sorts out the pretenders from the contenders for 2013 Giro glory.

After a transfer north and a rest day, the first mountain summit finish comes at the beginning of Week Two on Stage 10, a 167km stage from Cordenons to the Altopiano del Montasio, a 16km ascent with a steep final 4km that could make a selection among the GC riders. Stage 11 is another climbing stage with a short, steep 7km finishing ascent next to Vajont dam. After two flat transitional stages for the sprinters that head west across Italy, the mountains are back for the Giro's weekend stages with two short, climbing packed stages that offer a lot of excitement.



Saturday's Stage 14 is 168km from Cervere to Bardonecchia with the long climb at mid-stage through Sestriere, then a steep final ascent of 7.2km at 9% on the Jafferau climb above Bardonecchia.

Although Sunday's Stage 15 from Cesana Torinese is only 149km, the finish atop the Tour de France's legendary Col du Galibier (Valloire) is prefaced by the grinding 24.5km ascent up Monte Cenisio, then via the Col du Télégraphe to finish atop the brutal exposed slopes of the 2642m high Col du Galibier. This monster stage will make a major shake-up in the outcome of the 2013 Giro.

After a well deserved rest day in France, the Giro d'Italia will head back to Italy for two more transitional stages before what will likely be another crucial stage, Stage 18 on Thursday May 23, a 20.6km mountain time trial from Mori to Polsa. The cronoscalata features an average gradient of 5%, with the final 6km at 6.8%. After the pivotal TT, Friday and Saturday's mountain stages will likely determine the outcome of the 2013 Giro. Friday's Stage 19 from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello/Martelltal is a short 139km, but has 4,300 meters of climbing, including the brutal ascent of Passo Gavia just after the start, then the long, taxing ascent up the west side of Passo Stelvio to Cima Coppi, the high point of the race at 2758m. Then, a plunge down to Val Martello to ascend the 21km final climb, which concludes with a steep ramp up the final kilometer to the finish.



The Giro's penultimate stage on Saturday May 25 is the Queen stage of the race, 203km from Silandro/Schlanders in the Val Venosta across 4 categorized climbs to finish atop the legendary Tre Cime di Lavaredo climb. Stage 20 is the third day in a row in the mountains and racing across the heart of the Giro's legendary Dolomiti climbs, including Costalunga, San Pellegrino to the unrelenting 15km up Passo Giau, followed by the massive ascent from Cortina d'Ampezzo up Passo Tre Croci, then the final assault on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, where in the last 3km to Rifugio Auronzo at 2304 meters of altitude, the gradient reaches 18% and averages 12.4%! Sunday May 26 in the final stage, a flat 197km ride from Riese Pio X that finishes with circuits in Brescia.

Be sure to look for RBA's breakdown on the riders and who we think will win in Part 2 of RBA's Giro preview.

2013 Giro d'Italia : Stage Breakdown
21 Stages Total
2 Individual Time Trials
1 Team Time Trial
3 Medium Mountain Stages with Summit Finish
4 Medium Mountain Stages
1 High Mountain Stage
3 High Mountain Stages with Summit Finish
7 Flat / Rolling Stages
Length: 3,503.9km

THE STAGES
Saturday May 4 / Stage 1: Naples-Naples: 130km

Sunday May 5 / Stage 2: Ischia-Forio TTT: 17.4km

Monday May 6 / Stage 3: Sorrento-Marina di Ascea: 222km

Tuesday May 7 / Stage 4: Policastro Bussentino-Serra San Bruno: 246km

Wednesday May 8 / Stage 5: Cosenza-Matera: 203km

Thursday May 9 / Stage 6: Mola di Bari-Margherita di Savoia: 169km

Friday May 10 / Stage 7: San Salvo-Pescara: 177km

Saturday May 11 / Stage 8: Gabicce Mare-Saltara: 54.8km

Sunday May 12 / Stage 9: San Sepolcro-Firenze: 170km

Monday May 13 / Rest day Pordenone

Tuesday May 14 / Stage 10: Cordenons-Altopiano del Montasio: 167km

Wednesday May 15 / Stage 11: Tarvisio (Cave del Predil)-Vajont (Erto e Casso): 182km

Thursday May 16 / Stage 12: Longarone-Treviso: 134km

Friday May 17 / Stage 13: Busseto-Cherasco: 254km

Saturday May 18 / Stage 14: Cervere-Bardonecchia: 168km

Sunday May 19 / Stage 15: Cesana Torinese-Col du Galibier (Valloire): 149km

Monday May 20: Valloire, France

Tuesday May 21 / Stage 16: Valloire-Ivrea: 238km

Wednesday May 22 / Stage 17: Caravaggio-Vicenza: 214km

Thursday May 23 / Stage 18: Mori-Polsa ITT: 20.6km

Friday May 24 / Stage 19: Ponte di Legno-Val Martello/Martelltal: 139km

Saturday May 25 / Stage 20: Silandro/Schlanders-Tre Cime di Lavaredo: 203km

Stage 21 / Sunday May 26/ Riese Pio X-Brescia: 197km


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