Mellow Velo

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Sunday, 13 May 2018 - The 9th stage of the Giro d'Italia travels from Pesco Sannita to a summit finish at the high altitude plateau Campo Imperatore at the Gran Sasso. The race through the Apennines takes in two intermediate climbs, while the route amounts to 225 kilometres. The last 45 kilometres point virtually all uphill.

It’s been a while but the 2018 Giro d’Italia will be visiting the Gran Sasso again after a long hiatus. In the past, first riders at the massif in Abruzzo were Marco Pantani (1999), John Carlsen (1989), Franco Chioccioli (1985) and Vicente López Carril (1971).

The full name of the mountain range is Gran Sasso d’Italia, which is appropriate as it means Great Stone of Italy. The Gran Sasso is dominated by three peaks: Corno Grande, Corno Piccolo and Pizzo Intermesoli. At 2,912 metres, Corno Grande is the highest peak in the Apennines.

Gran Sasso may have been a stage finish four times, this year’s climb is new except for the last 6 kilometres. And in 1985 the finish line was located almost 1,000 metres lower, in Fonte Cerreto.

But before hitting the giant of the Appenines the riders face an upward rolling section of 100 kilometres to the base of the first climb, which runs to Roccaraso. The ascent is 8.9 kilometres at 6.2% with steepest ramps of 12%. Two editions ago the 6th stage of the Giro finished at the ski area of Roccaraso – 6 kilometres higher up the mountain – and Tim Wellens took the win.



Following the passage in Roccaraso the route continues on the flat for 10 kilometres before a long stretched descent runs to the foot of the ascent to Calascio. At 13.7 kilometres this climb is averaging 6%. The almost abandoned village is dominated by Rocca Calascio, an impressive mountaintop fortress at 1,460 metres.

Arguably, the last climb begins at the foot of the Calascio climb, with 47 kilometres remaining. After moving through the village the route remains on the flat for 5.6 kilometres and then it goes back up again. By now, the riders are on the final ascent to the Campo Imperatore (“Emperor’s Field”) of the Gran Sasso. This is the largest plateau of the Apennine ridge.



The actual last climb of the 9th stage opens with 10 kilometres at 4% before a rolling false flat of 9 kilometres followed by 3 kilometres at 4.1%. Then the Gran Sasso starts to show its teeth. The last 4.45 kilometres to the Campo Imperatore are marked by a 8,2%, while the steepest ramp of 13% is 1.5 kilometres before the line.



The finish is at an altitude of 2,135 metres, which is almost enough for the Cima Coppi, the highest peak of the Giro d’Italia. But, not quite.



I now draw your attention to Sasso stage winner, John Carlsen.
Partly because he is Danish, which should go down well around here,  :D but also because he gets a write up in a rather infamous book, by a rather well known writer. ;)

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=573COjrZuiYC&pg=PT207&lpg=PT207&dq=John+Carlsen+Gran+Sasso&source=bl&ots=ywRjsmz162&sig=02PatdNPZD4vNM0V6ISUIMXVmRo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwje19yDlYDbAhWrK8AKHR90Cns4ChDoAQgoMAA#v=onepage&q=John%20Carlsen%20Gran%20Sasso&f=false

PESCO SANNITA

Italian medieval town with about 2,000 inhabitants in the province of Benevento located on a rocky hill right of the Tàmmaro river. Its agricultural economy, (durum wheat) traditionally providing for its population, is favoured by the river that makes the surrounding land fertile.



The local wine.


GRAN SASSO D'ITALIA (Campo Imperatore)

Campo Imperatore is a wide plateau originally shaped by alluviums and glaciers, at an altitude of approx. 1,800 m in the province of L’Aquila, in Abruzzi, at the heart of the Gran Sasso d’Italia massif and the National Park of Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga.
Profile:-


Map:-


Some bald bloke climbing it back in 1999:-



And the compulsory scenic shot.



Favourites 9th stage 2018 Giro d’Italia

Because of the way that the climbs are set up, with the steepest gradients towards the top of the Gran Sasso, the stage appears to favour the pure climbers.
So, with at this stage, no real standout favourite, I give you, in no particular order.....

:*:*:*:* Thibaut Pinot #groupama, Miguel Ángel López #astana, Esteban Chaves #mitchelton, Domenico Pozzovivo #bahrain and Simon Yates #mitchelton.

:*:*:* Fabio Aru #uae, George Bennett #jumbo, Chris Froome and Sergio Henao #sky.

:*:* Tom Dumoulin #sunweb, Carlos Betancur #movistar, Richard Carapaz #movistar, Michael Woods #efd

:* Ben o'Connor #didata, Giulio Ciccone #bardiani, Davide Formolo #bora, Robert Gesink #jumbo and all the random attackers.
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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

    LukasCPH

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    Since the Roccaraso climb starts in Castel di Sangro, I draw your attention to another book ... :)


    The football club from the town with 5900 inhabitants made it into the Serie C1 in the early nineties, didn't get relegated, and in 1996 miraculously won promotion to the Serie B. *us writer Joe McGinniss went to Italy to live in Castel di Sangro and follow the team in their first Serie B season when they almost even more miraculously escaped relegation (but were relegated a season later).

    Here's a RAI report on the 1996 promotion playoff that went down to penalties - and where the coach put in the reserve keeper with seconds to spare in overtime. He went on to save the all-important penalty.
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    M Gee

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    http://velorooms.com/index.php?topic=9025.msg2240120#msg2240120

    After today, you should bump Carapaz up a star.

    I said it on the chat - I don't think Yates can carry the load for 3 weeks. It seems to me like he usually has a bad couple of days somewhere. I don't think it will be this stage though. 

    Today could be a real forecast for the rest of the Giro. Just FYI, in case you've been living under a rock, I'll be cheering Dumoulin on. We WON'T know if he will win today (probably), but we might know if he is going to lose. Chavez is a real danger, and the #mitchelton team is strong, like nearly #sky strong. Really - Roman Kreuziger as a dom? Strong.

    Definitely a stage to watch. Could be very interesting.
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  • . . .He had the bit between his teeth, and he loiked the taste, mate . . .

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    really looking forward to it, after 225k that climb should be hard enough to create gaps.

    Chaves said it's likely to be one for a breakaway, but I wouldn't be surprised if Astanas put all eggs into one basket and goes full out for Lopez. At some point Bilbao (7th in gc currently) needs to be sacrificed anyway. Sooner or later, #mitchelton Greenedge will need to find a single leader as well I guess
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    t-72

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    I think today we might see a clearer division in tactics between the riders that believe they are at advantage in the time trial and those that think they will loose a minute or two there. The later group needs to find their advantages on the big climbs, and today is one of those, with rest day tomorrow availabe.

    Both #sunweb Dumoulin and #sky Froome seems to have cloaked themselves in a "limit losses" mode. Dumoulin because he wants to  - he seems to hold back a better performance, even if he currently has the capacity to perform better, and Froome because he has to. He appears to be riding himself into shape and I don't expect to see one of his wild kicks ala Pierre st Martin, even if the climb looks similar,because he doesn't have the capacity now.

    I expect them to try to remain unseen until the time trial stage. Not that they will manage, being listed as the two main contenders before the race, but they will try - unless one of them notices the other has a problem that can be exploited. Dumoulin is comfortably in the lead and can afford to wait for Froome's moves right now.
     
    This opens up the window of opportunity for the challengers, the riders that are not as good on the time trials and need to make up time in the mountains. Those that are in shape now. This will of course include #rosa #mitchelton Yates and  #mitchelton Chaves. I think their dream scenario is that both of them manage to break free from the #sky #sunweb train and they ride off into the sunset together.  And why not, those trains seem to run on coal only, so far - the #sunweb one is not impressive with mostly only Ten Dam riding well up Etna if I remember correctly. He did that despite crashing, so he is definitely ready to work.

    The Sky train seems stronger but - and this is the new stuff, 2018 - #mitchelton can match them on all positions, and maybe outperform them, when it wasn't expected, such as when it comes to #mitchelton Jack Haigh vs #sky David De La Cruz. And they need to put their two captains in a favorable position somewhere on the last 5 km, because that is when it will make a difference. Especially Yates but also Chaves seems able to ride away from  Dumofroome.

    #fdj Pinot, #bahrain Pozzovivo, #movistar Carapaz might go on similar adventures whereas #uae Aru, I will not dare to predict, but I think he will hold with Froome/Dumoulin, waiting for week 3 and the Finestre.

    (Note: Due to perfect weather,  it seems I will be cycling too much today to watch this live. :D )



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  • « Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 09:29 by LukasCPH »

    Capt_Cavman

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    Really looking forward to this stage. In an ideal world, Greenedge separate Dumoulin from his team and the Yates and Chaves take turns to attack him and we get an exciting, ever-changing race
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  • M Gee

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    Really looking forward to this stage. In an ideal world, Greenedge separate Dumoulin from his team and the Yates and Chaves take turns to attack him and we get an exciting, ever-changing race
    :(   :angry
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    T A P P O N E !  :cool

    From my morning coffee grumblings today:

    So, i think this must have been very much a dream come true for the #mitchelton team then:


    It is actually not just Yates and Chaves, the whole #mitchelton team is on fire at the moment, and they managed to convert their good physical form to results. Superior performance.
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    all the gc discussion has been moved to the rest day thread
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