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88th Giro d'Italia - PT
Italy, May 7-29, 2005
Giro 2005 stage by stage
The 88th edition of Italy's grand tour kicks off in Reggio Calabria on May 7 with a prologue time trial of just over a kilometre and finishes three weeks later in Milano with a 119km procession from Albese Con Cassano.
On the way, the Giro will cover a total of 3,498 km in 20 stages and a prologue, with two rest days. Giro organizers classify ten of the stages as flat or undulating, three as quite hilly, and five as mountainous; there are 33 categorized climbs and two time trials.
Prologue - Saturday May 7: Reggio Calabria ITT, 1.150km
The 88th Giro d'Italia opens with a 1.15km drag race along the seafront in Reggio Calabria. Starting on the beautiful tree-lined Lungomare Falcomata, the kilometer and change finishes in the Piazza Independenza. Look for a sprinter or track specialist to take the first Maglia Rosa of the Giro d'Italia. Bradley Wiggins Pretty In Pink?
Stage 1 - Sunday, May 8: Reggio Calabria-Tropea, 208km
Starting in Reggio Calabria at the tippy-toe of the Italian boot, the first road stage of the Giro then winds east around the Aspromonte National Park, cuts back west and after an easy climb, there's a tricky, nervous run-in to Tropea on the Gulf of St.Eufemia. The finish may be too nervous for a large sprint, so look out for Liquigas scattista Danilo DiLuca to make his mark.
Stage 2 - Monday, May 9: Catanzaro Lido-Santa Maria Del Cedro, 182km
It's flat, flat, flat from Catanzaro Lido on the instep of the Italian boot up the coast where the Giro's first big sprint will come down on Santa Maria Del Cedro's Corso Tireno after a 13.7km finishing circuit. How do you say Petacchi takes over the Maglia Rosa? Just like that.
Stage 3 - Tuesday, May 10: Diamante-Giffon Valle Piana, 205km
Again starting on the Tirennean coast, Stage 3 heads inland after 30km and crosses the hilly terrain of the Cilento, passing through Eboli, the village made famous by Carlo Levi's book "Christ Stopped In Eboli" with 30km to go. With a 6km ascent to the GPM in Montecorvino Pugliano situated 6km from the finish, Stage 3 will not be be a sprint finish.
Stage 4 - Wednesday, May 11: Giffon Valle Piana-Frosinone, 211km
A long, hot, flat stage across the hinterlands to the east of Napoli will have the gruppo of the Giro d'Italia licking their lips for a slice of pizza margherita or some some gelato, but they will have to wait for after the likely big sprint finish in Frosinone.
Stage 5 - Thursday, May 12: Celano-L'Aquila, 223km
This is a difficult, nervous stage in the heart of Abruzzo designed by former pro and local Vito Taccone. After a flat start, Stage 5 climbs into the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo with two KOM's within 60km. Then there's a long descent that leads to the toughest GPM of the day, Goriano Sicoli, a steep 4km ramp with some sections up to 16%. From there, it's an rolling romp to the finish in L'Aquila 36km later.
Stage 6 - Friday, May 13: Viterbo-Marina Di Grosseto, 153km
After a 200km transfer north around Rome to Viterbo, the 6th stage of the Giro is a fast, nervous ride across the back country of the Maremma region to the Tuscan port town of Marina Di Grosseto. Although attackers will try to stay away, the three final circuits of 6km each will set the stage perfectly for the sprinters teams to flex their muscles in the finale.
Stage 7 - Saturday, May 14: Grosseto-Pistoia, 211km
Due north is the direction and Pistoia is the destination for the end of week one of the 88th Giro d'Italia. Once again, a final circuit will condition the stage outcome, but it's not for the speedsters. After passing close to the skyscraper towers of San Gimignano and climbing the San Baronto GPM with 48km to go, next stop is the tough climb of Sammome'. This steep narrow ascent gains 491m. in just 4.5km, then plunges back down to Pistoia to finish in the Piazza S.Francesco d'Assisi. A dangerous finale for riders who have ambitions to win the Giro, for a bad position before the Sammome' could lose valuable seconds.
Stage 8 - Sunday, May 15: Lamporecchio-Firenze ITT, 45km
The first real test of the 88th Giro d'Italia is Sunday's 45km individual time trial from Lamporecchio-Firenze. The chrono heads east along the Arno River valley towards Firenze, then climbs up amid the vinyards and olive trees of Monte Albano, gaining 300m. in 6km. Over the top, there's a fast, wide open 10km descent to Poggio a Caiano and then a straight shot back to Firenze and the finish on Viale Lincoln.
Stage 9 - Monday, May 16: Firenze-Ravenna, 140km
After Sunday's crucial chrono, the Giro gruppo heads east on a short transition stage to Italy's Adriatic coastline via the Appenine Mountains. Certainly there will be attacks on the climb to the days only GPM on the Passo di Muraglione, but with 90 mostly downhill kilometers still to ride, sprinters squads should suck up any fugitives before the finish in Via Di Roma in this seaside resort famous for it's ancient mosaics and tasty seafood.
Stage 10 - Wednesday, May 18: Ravenna-Rossano Veneto, 212km
After a rest day, stage 10 is a flat, fast ride for the sprinters before the mountains start Thursday from Ravenna across the Polesine to Rossano Veneto, hometown of Giro sponsors Wilier Triestina and Selle Italia. Three finishing circuits of 5.2km will help separate the men from the boys in the finale of Stage 10.
Stage 11 - Thursday, May 19: Marostica-Zoldo Alto (Dolomiti Stars), 150km
The Giro mountains begin with the first stage in the Dolomiti to Zoldo Alto. Starting in Marostica's Piazza dei Scacchi, the climbing chess game begins with two small ascents of the Salita della Rosina and the Scale di Primolano, then a long, gradual ascent up to the first GPM at Passo di Cereda (1369m) then another at Forcelle Aurine after 105.km. After a descent to Agordo, it's the steep 13km ascent to Passo Duran (1601m.), a 8km descent and then the final 12km ascent to the finish at the ski resort of Dolomiti Stars in Zoldo Alto. Look for Damiano Cunego to try and put his stamp on the Giro in this first mountain stage.
Stage 12 - Friday, May 20: Alleghe-Rovereto, 178km
After the first tough climbing day, Stage 12 starts out with with the tough climb of Passo San Pellegino after 26km, but then cascades downhill for the next 150km to a possible sprint finish in Rovereto in the Adige River valley.
Stage 13 - Saturday, May 21: Mezzocorona-Ortisei / St.Ulrich, 218km
Starting amid the vineyards of Mezzocorona, Stage 13 will be unlucky for whoever lacks the legs to make it over the six GPM's. The stage climbs east out of the Adige valley into the heart of the Dolomiti, then hits the first GPM after 71km at Passo di Costalunga (1745m.), then climbs up to the monumental Passo di Sella (2244m.), followed by the Passo di Gardena (2121m) halfway through the tough stage. After the feed zone in Corvara in Badia, the long descent to the base of the penultimate ascent up Passo delle Erbe (2004m.), followed immediately by the Passo Eores (1863m.). After this climb, Stage 13 has a long descent to Bressanone in the upper Adige Valley, across Ponte Gardena and then up the final 9km climb to Pontives, then into Ortisei for the finish. This is a great chance for mountain man Gilberto Simoni to strut his stuff across the Dolomiti.
Stage 14 - Sunday, May 22: Egna / Neumarkt-Livigno, 210km
Starting at the Würth factory in Egna, Stage 14 is another difficult day of mountain climbing at the Giro d'Italia. The first 38km climbs up through the Catinaccio east of Bolzano, then plunges back down to the Adige Valley and heads due west towards the east face of the Passo Stelvio and it's terrible 48 hairpin turns over 25km that eventually arrives at Cima Coppi, at 2758m. the highest point of the 2005 Giro d’Italia. Then it's a 20km descent to Bormio, and another long, difficult ascent up to the Passo di Foscagno (2291m.) before descending to the finish in Livigno.
Stage 15 - Monday, May 23: Livigno-Lissone, 205km
Stage 15 climbs out of Livigno and then heads downhill through Valtellina, along the Lecco arm of Lake Como and down to finish in Lissone in the Brianza region north of Milano.
Stage 16 - Wednesday, May 25: Lissone-Varazze, 210km
This post rest day stage is perfect for attacking riders who still have some snap left in their legs. After 150km across the flat roads of the Po River valley, Stage 16 climbs the Bric Berton ascent once used in Milano-San Remo, then heads down to the Ligurian riviera and the finish in Varazze.
Stage 17 - Thursday, May 26: Varazze-Limone Piemonte (Colle di Tenda), 194km
With only 4 stages remaining in the 88th Giro d'Italia, this stage could provide some surprises. After a short ride along the coastline, Stage 17 heads across the small, twisting roads of the Ligurian hinterlands which is perfect terrain for attacking whoever is wearing the Maglia Rosa. After 131km, there is a steep 7km climb up to Madonna del Coletta, then the long, gradual 30km ascent to the mountaintop finish in Limone Piemonte.
Stage 18 - Friday, May 27: Chieri-Torino ITT, 34km
The strong men of the Giro d'Italia will confront the final time test of Italy's grand tour. Starting in Chieri, the stage heads to Torino via the Colle della Superga, the climb that is the final dfficulty of Milano-Torino. Superga is a 7km ascent that has some steep pitches over 8% and finishes halfway through. Then Stage 18 rolls across the shoulder of Colle della Superga, descends to Torino and finishes along the Po River into Torino on Viale Medaglie d'Oro.
Stage 19 - Saturday, May 28: Savigliano-Sestriere (Le Valli Olimpiche), 190km
The penultimate stage of the 88th Giro d'Italia celebrates the Olympic Valleys of Sestrieres that will host the 2006 Winter Olympics and the riders who take the start will celebrate a world of pain. Starting in Savigliano south of Torino, Stage 19 makes a long, gradual 45km climb up to Sestrieres after 101km. After a long descent to Susa, the final 45km of this stage is simply brutal. The never-before used climb of the Colle della Finestre is a 18.5km monster, with an average gradient of 9.2%. Said to be harder than the Passo Gavia, the final 7.9km of Finestre is on a gravel "strada bianca" that will make the the climb even more difficult. Once over the Finestre, there's another descent and the final 12km climb back up to Sestrieres.
Stage 20 - Sunday, May 29: Albese Con Cassano-Milano, 119km
It's all over but the shouting as the final stage of the 88th Giro heads from Albese Con Cassano near Lake Como back to Milano for the final 10 finishing circuits in the center of Milano, where sprinters will rule the day.