2012 Giro d’Italia Preview by Stevie Dexter

Stevie is definitely the most knowledgeable pro tour writer I know and he’s here with a fantastic overall preview of what’s to come in the Giro d’Italia.  Things kick off tomorrow morning at 9:40AM EST and be sure to check out the stage previews and live blogging coverage for the entire tour over at The Roar….it’s going to epic. - Darryl

2012 Giro d’Italia Preview

by Stevie

The 2012 Giro d’Italia mark’s the beginning of the Grand Tour period but with key riders missing from certain team line-ups and a route as challenging as ever it will be a difficult 3 weeks for all concerned.

The Race

The opening days will be spent around Henring and then Horsens, Denmark for the opening day’s Individual Time Trial which is almost dead pan flat for just 8.7km and then two days of flat racing which are certain to end in bunch sprints. The Stage 1 ITT looks a fairly technical route so we are unlikely to see General Classification rider’s putting 100% here for fear of succumbing to crashes and the first maglia rosa will be worn by the bravest of the riders. The following two days’ stage profiles have very little in the way of altitude and the teams who are aiming for the red points classification jersey (now affectionately known as Maglia Rosso Passione) will be protecting their sprinters and we will get to see just how devastating the likes of Mark Cavendish and Matt Goss are going to be in the sprints. With the likes of Alessandro Pettachi and Andre Griepel not starting the event, Cav and Gossy must be looking forward to the flat finishes even more and with an early day off following the first two sprints due to travelling from Denmark to Italy, the sprinters know they can push themselves to the limit in an attempt to take a strangle hold on the points classification.

The Giro d’Italia’s first stage in Italy is the 32.2km Team Time Trial around Verona and will sort the men from the boys. Team’s that have an eye on the General Classification will be pulling out all the stops here as the distance has the possibility of opening up some notable time gaps without being out of the range of teams who do not possess true time trailing ability. The following day the race leaves the home of Italian supercars, Modena in an almost arrow straight blast to the coast at Fano. A few lumps, including a 4th categorised climb may see a smaller, more select group reach the finish in a sprint but with 10km of flat before the line, anyone left behind should have enough road to get back to the main bunch.

The days that follow see the riders taking in the first of the climbing stages with Stage 6 topping out at 772m on the Passo Della Cappella with a maximum gradient of 16% and Stage 7 finishing at 1392m with a 10% climb up Rocca Di Cambio to the stage finish. The fast men wont enjoy the hills but the profile of Stage 6 should not be too much for their teams to help them over but expect a well organised breakaway to succeed here and although the finish of Stage 7 only has a maximum of a 10% climb, this could see some time gaps open up or extended. Stages 9, 11 & 13 allow the sprinter’s to take the headlines in La Gazzetta dello Sport once again, bookending 2 other medium mountain stages which never see the riders more than 653m above sea level.

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