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It appears 2019 will be a year for grand tour climbers. The Vuelta a Espana is always vicious with its near double-digit summit finishes and in 2019 the Tour and Giro will feature nearly the same time trial kilometres. While RCS Sport appears to have designed a route to try to convince Tom Dumoulin to return in 2019, an ascent-heavy second half with only a short final TT may keep the Dutchman away. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Giro aims for balanced route, 5 summit finishes and 3 TTs
Today, the Giro d’Italia unveiled its 2019 parcours, a balanced route that includes five summit finishes, including the Colle del Nivolet which should show Italy’s beauty with Lake Serru. Time trials open and close the course beginning in Bologna on May 11 and finishing in Verona on June 2. One more TT features midway through, on stage nine, but the total time trial kilometres is still fairly low, under 60 kilometres. The total race distance is 3,518 kilometres.
The second half of the race will be brutal. The riders face summit finishes on stages 13 and 14 and a tough final on stage 15 into Como, which replicates the finale of Il Lombardia. Stage 14 will be a stage to watch as the short 131-kilometre route from Saint-Vincent to Courmayeur includes five categorised climbs and over 4,000 metres of climbing.
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) October 31, 2018
After a rest day, the final week kicks off from Lovere and travels to Ponte di Legno. The 226-kilometre stage includes an insane 5,700 metres of climbing. The Gavia Pass and Mortirolo Pass both feature in the stage. There are also summit finishes on stages 17 and 19 with a flat 200-kilometre route on stage 18.
The penultimate stage of the Giro is a nearly 200-kilometre, 5,000 metres of climbing jaunt through the Dolomites. The 2019 Giro finishes in Verona with a final 15.6-kilometre test against the clock.
While three time trials feature in 2019 route. Two of the solo efforts are climber-friendly, which means riders that are weak against the clock should not need to worry. Climb heavy Giro and Tour routes makes going for the double nearly impossible. We should see each race have its hometown favourites vying for the overall. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) are expected to toe the line in Bologna, while Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) are expected to go all-in for the Tour.
The Beauty of Cycling
The Giro d’Italia calls itself “the toughest race in the world’s most beautiful place.” Hearing this on many occasions today alongside the Giro route announcement, we scanned our photographer’s galleries from this year’s edition and came across this wonderful shot by Ashley and Jered Gruber.
The photo is from the Giro’s stage six summit finish at Mount Etna. While there are no racers in the shot, it’s assumed they’re down there somewhere as evident by the helicopter flying above. The lighting was incredible that day on Etna and the photo goes to show how the sport of cycling allows us to see a few magical places we may not travel to ourselves.
Dumoulin appears headed to Tour despite three TTs at Giro
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) will race the Tour de France, at least according to Nos.nl. “The choice is not made yet, but I would like to go to the Tour and the team would like me to go to the Tour, so basically we are on the same line,” Dumoulin said.
After the Tour route announcement last week, Dumoulin called the course “not ideal” in terms of suiting his skillset and a still climb-heavy Giro seems to have not convinced him to sacrifice going for the maillot jaune.
Giro pays tribute to Coppi’s 1949 victory
2019 will mark what would have been the 100th birthday of cycling legend and five-time Giro d’Italia winner Fausto Coppi. The 11th stage will start in Carpi and travel 200-kilometres to the finish line in Novi Ligure where “Il Campionissimo” lived. The flat parcours should see the sprinters battle at the end of the day.
The following day, the Giro pays tribute to one of Coppi’s greatest feats. At the 1949 Giro, Coppi attacked solo on the road from Cuneo to Pinerolo and won the stage nearly 12 minutes clear of second-place finisher Gino Bartali. The stage was a brutal affair as it tackled the Maddalena Pass, the Col de Vars, the Col d’Izoard, the Col de Montgenèvre and the Sestriere Pass. While stage 12 of the 2019 Giro will travel from Cuneo to Pinerolo, the route will be much shorter and include fewer climbs.
Italian Salvatore Puccio signed a three-year extension with Team Sky. The 29-year-old has ridden for the program since 2012 and has filled the role of domestique on multiple grand tour squads. He was part of Chris Froome’s Vuelta and Giro overall victories.
Also, Darwin Atapuma has joined Cofidis on a one-year deal. The Colombian climber has struggled to live up to the expectations of becoming a GC grand tour threat that followed him when he moved into the WorldTour in 2014 with BMC Racing. He finished second atop the Izoard on the penultimate stage of the 2017 Tour de France.
2019 Giro d’Italia route
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) October 31, 2018
Happy Birthday to …
Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (60), the Frenchwoman was nearly unbeatable on the bike during her peak in the late 80s and 90s. She’s a four-time world TT champion and five-time world road race champion. Longo was the first women to capture double rainbows when she won both the TT and the road race in 1995. She has a multitude of French national titles, the last of which she won in 2011 at the age of 52. That year she won the French TT title and finished second in the national road race.
However, Longo’s status as one of the greatest female cyclists of all-time has been clouded due to doping suspicions. In 2012, it came to light her husband and coach Patrice Ciprelli had bought EPO from former American pro Joe Papp. Longo also has missed tests during her career and served a one-month suspension in 1987 after she tested positive for ephedrine following an attempt at the 3-kilometre world record.
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Feature Image: Chris Froome during the final stage of the 2018 Giro d’Italia around Rome.