Edited by Jeff Jones
By Jeff Jones
The full course details were unveiled in Milan today of the 2002 Giro d'Italia. A prologue plus 20 stages with two rest days, totaling 3334 kilometres, will make it the longest of the three grand tours in 2002. Not including the prologue, the race averages 166 kilometres per day, 2.1 kilometres per day less than last year. There will also be a similar number of mountain top finishes - three, and the race will feature more climbing.
The Giro starts in Groningen, Netherlands on May 11 with a 6.5 kilometre prologue. The parcours for this stage was ridden today by four former and current cyclists: Erik Breukink, Claudio Chiappucci, Erik Dekker and Niels Scheuneman, and the whole event covered on Dutch TV. It's only the seventh time in the Giro's history that the race has started outside Italy, the reason being to celebrate the general introduction of the single currency of the European Union, the Euro.
The Giro will pass through the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France before entering Italian soil on May 17 (Stage 5). These early stages will be suited to the sprinters, with the first hilly stage coming on Stage 6, May 18 from Cuneo to Varazze, including the Bric Berton and the Sassello climbs.
The seventh stage is a relatively short circuit (159 km) around Versilia, and this is followed by the longest stage, 224 kilometres from Capannori to Orvieto. Two more flat stages follow before the first mountain finish on stage 11 from Banevento to Campitello Matese. The riders will race through the Appennines after that, before the second rest day on May 27, which follows Stage 14. Held in Numana, that stage is the first of two time trials, and 20 kilometres of it is climbing.
Stage 15 from Terme Euganee to Conegliano is 158 kilometres, and will again be suited to the sprinters. The 16th stage is going to be tough: 159 kilometres from Conegliano-Corvara in Badia, including the Fedaia, Pordoi (Cima Coppi), Campolongo, finishing at Corvara.
There will be little time to recover from this with the 17th stage from Corvara to Folgaria, which Maurizio Fondriest regards as "the hardest stage of the Giro." It goes over the Bondone and up the hard side of Santa Barbara, which is a very steep, tough climb before finishing with the ascent of Folgaria. The stage is also 222 kilometres long, the second longest of the tour.
The sprinters get a couple more chances after this, with Stage 18 from Rovereto to Brescia and Stage 20, the finale in Milan. The penultimate stage may be a crucial one too - a 44 kilometre time trial from Cambiago to Monticello Brianza, depending on how big a lead the wearer of the maglia rosa at this stage has.
Last year's winner, Gilberto Simoni was interviewed in his home Trento, and he echoed the comments of many: "I thought it would be a tougher Giro," he said.
Marco Pantani said that "It's a nice Giro but not very hard."
Beppi Conti: "It looks quite different from the last few editions. There are no major historical climbs."
Maurizio Fondriest: "This is the hardest stage of the Giro."
Cyclingnews Giro 2002 page
In Regensdorf on Friday evening, Nicole Brändli and Thomas Frischknecht were honoured as the Swiss Cyclists of the Year by the Swiss Cycling Federation. The pair selected by 400 guests and over 1000 readers of the Swiss Cycling Journal. Both groups were allowed 50% of the vote.
There were plenty of current and former stars of cycling in attendance, including all the Swiss champions, more than a dozen World Cup winners, World and European Champions and many other distinguished guests.
Women 1 Nicole Brändli 2 Barbara Blatter 3 Priska Doppmann 4 Lucille Hunkeler 4 Sonja Traxel Men 1 Thomas Frischknecht 2 Bruno Risi 3 Oscar Camenzind 4 Beat Zberg 5 Christoph Sauser
30 year old French cyclist, Catherine Marsal, has finished her career, making her decision last Friday. Marsal was one of the top cyclists of the early 1990's, winning the World Championship in Utsunomiya before breaking the women's World Hour Record in 1995 (47.112 km/h). She also competed in four Olympic Games between 1988 and 2000.
Italian cyclist Tania Belverdersi has signed a contract with the Dutch women's team, Powerplate-Bik. She will join her compatriots, Alessandra Cappellotto, Greta Zocca and Sylvia Parietti in the team managed by Ton Vrolijk and Frank van der Goes.
World number 1 and reigning World Cup Champion Greg Minnaar (Global Racing) of South Africa has confirmed that he will be part of the field of riders that will race in the Megavalanche Race on the French Territory of Reunion Island, which lies approximately 220km (130 miles) south west of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. The event takes place on the morning of Sunday December 2nd, with training days beforehand.
Also confirming his participation is Steve Peat (GBR), as well as last year's winner, Masters World Champion Samuel Péridy (FRA) and other leading French riders who will join a host of local riders from Reunion Island itself.
Greg said from his home in Pietermaritzburg that he was "really looking forward to racing again. After crashing out in Grenoble I was really disappointed not to race for the French fans, so in a way this will help make up for it."
Prior to this, Minnaar will attend the South African Cyclist of the Year, held in Johannesburg next Monday, November 19.
Major Races and Events
September 7-29, 2002: Vuelta a Espaņa (GT) - Preview, stage list
May 11-June 2, 2002: Giro d'Italia (GT) - Preview, stage list, photos
July 6-28, 2002: Tour de France (GT) - Full preview & official route details
December 8: Superprestige Rd 5 (Cat. 1) - Erwin Vervecken
November 29-December 4: Six Days of Noumea (6D) - Sassone/Neuville victorious
November 26-December 1: Six Days of Zurich (6D) - Day 6 - McGrory/Gilmore/Schnider win
December 1: Melbourne Cup on Wheels (IM) - Scott Moller, Keirin, Sprint, Support races
December 2: Cyclo-cross World Cup #2 (CDM) - Sven Nijs again
November 24-December 3: Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos (JR) - Final results
December 8-9: Frankfurter Rad-Cross (Cat. 2) - Alex Mudroch, UK National Trophy Series #4 (Cat. 3) - Roger Hammond, Grote Prijs Industrie Bosduin - Kalmthout (Cat. 1) - Bart Wellens, Int. Radquer Obergösgen (Cat. 2) - Björn Rondelez, Trofeo Mamma e Papa Guerciotti (Cat. 3) - Enrico Franzoi, Premio Egondo (Cat 3) - David Seco, Irish cyclo-cross championships - Robin Seymour
Results: local racing
Australia - CycleWest Promotions Omnium Series #2, Eastern Suburbs Summer Criterium Series, Carnegie Caulfield Tuesday criterium, Southern Cross Junior Track Open & Madison Cup, Manly Warringah CC, George Town Track Carnival, Carnegie Caulfield CC, Randwick Botany CC, Gold Coast CATS CC, Caesar's Illawarra CC, Caesar's Illawarra (track)
Denmark - Danish cyclo-cross Post Cup #3
Italy - Gran Premio Cittā di Bassano
Luxembourg - GP De Kopstal
New Zealand - Cyco Criterium series
Spain - Elorrio cyclo-cross
USA - Georgia Cross Series Championship, Chimborazo Grand Prix cyclo-cross, Boulder Cross Rd 6, New Mexico State Cyclo-x Champs, Sorrento Cyclo-x & California State Champ's, Boulder Cross Rd 5, Verge New England series, Northampton CC Cyclo-cross Championships, Chris Cross International CycloCross
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