May 06, 2011

Giro Stage 1 - My Italian Roots

The Giro D'Italia starts tomorrow and I'm gonna play blogger...trying to post something for every stage. Not all of 'em will be wordy and prolific, but perhaps a few will be worth the here goes.

While most American fans have had a love affair since Andy Hampsten's '88 win, my personal Giro story starts in 2004. Of course I've always followed the race, but in 2004 I was lucky enough to get married in Italy and see my first ever Grand Tour live. Here's the route:

Given that memorable reference point, I thought it might make a nice back drop for this year's race. So...let's start off with a little comparison:

Total Length:
2004 - 3435 Kilometers
2010 - 3525 Kilometers

Individual Time Trial KM's
2004 - 59Kms
2010 - 45Kms

Mountain Top Finishes:
2004 - 3
2010 - 8

Total Climbing:
2004 - 18,500m (61,000+ feet!)
2010 - I can' nail it down precisely...but Stages 13, 14 and 15 have over 13,000m alone, adn there are 5 other mountain top finishes! Fortunately, we'll have plenty of time to discuss all of these in detail...

Top Contenders:
2004 - Gilberto Simoni (defending champion), Stefano Garzelli, Yaroslav Popovych, Andrea Noe, Franco Pelizotti, and Damiano Cunego (eventual winner).
2010 - Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, Denis Menchov, Michele Scarponi, Roman Kreuzinger, and Joaquin Rodriguez.

Ok, enough compare and contrast for now....let's get to Stage 1's Team Time Trial!

I haven't read all there is to read about it....I'm just going on two things. Roster and cohesion. While team Sky and Garmin carry big reputations in the time trial department I don't think they brought the squads to win this years TTT. Ironically (because I'm not a huge fan) Radioshack may pull out a suprise and I'm very curious to watch both Liquigas and Vaconsoleil race because they both have such great esprit d'corps. So my top five for stage 1

1. Liquigas
2. Radioshack
3. Astana
4. Garmin
5. Vaconsoleil

Ok, time to reset to Stage 2...

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