Questa ela sole corsa ke poso diera in italiano…… (Spelling is phonetic) Translation: ?This is the only sentence I can say in Italian? With that clear….Welcome to The 95th edition of the [W:Giro d?Italia]. Having just seen a few minutes of the show ?Fear Factor? and watching contestants having to eat scorpions, the idea of a gruelling 3 week bike race around Italy is quite appealing. Watching it, that is. Apparently this year is easier than last year. I don?t have to get up so early for work so maybe that?s the case for me, the riders however, well; they said the 2010 world championship course in Geelong was easy when they looked at it before the race. It wasn?t. The race runs from the 5th to the 27th May, (always in May apparently you need some recovery time prior to the Tour de France in July) and it starts in Denmark (Even though I know the reasons I am still somewhat confused why a tour of Italy starts in another country?) and ends in Milan (Daaaahling). People who aren?t in the know tend to ask questions like ?Hey, you ride a bike, are you doing the race in Italy? Have you ridden the Tour de France?? Answer, ?No. I work with you every day in a government dept. I am not a professional cyclist?. For the record, this race in Italy, like so many things in this world, is invite only. So who is riding it….well the 18 teams(yes cycling is a team sport) that make up the [W:UCI World Tour] (they actually don?t have a choice) and 4 Pro Continental Teams (think div 2 English Soccer) who got an invite. See Wikipedia for a listing if you?re really interested. Again, So who is riding it….well on the teams are several people who think they can win the race overall ? the Maglia Rosa (pink Jersey), probably because they have done so in the past, amongst them [W:Ivan Basso] who won in 2006 and 2010, [W:Michelle Scarponi] who technically won 2011 because Alberto Contador was suspended (he had an amount of Clenbuterol in his system that actually was so low it wasn?t detectable in any of Frances testing labs during the 2010 Tour de France but for some strange reason his sample was tested elsewhere where it could be detected ? another story ? a very interesting story) a bunch of Italians, it is their national race after all, as well as some guy called [W:Frank Schleck] who said he wasn?t interested but circumstances sometimes change things (read injury to another team member)…. There are people who can win the sprinters stages, World Champ [W:Mark Cavendish] is there along with [W:Tyler Farrar], [W:Thor Hushvod], [W:Matt Goss], [W:Mark Renshaw] and Andrea Guardini (look for this guy he?s new and young) Daniele Bennati and others…. So any stages that I should watch or set the recorder to watch it for me until I get an opportunity….there are 2 individual time trials, 1 team time trial, 7 flat stages, 6 medium mountain stages and 5 mountain stages making a total of 21 stages over 23 days. SBS is showing stages 6, 7, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20 & 21 and highlights on SBS 2 at 6:00pm daily so that should help you out there. I would be watching 14 onwards and 17, 19 and 20 are the biggies. So what?s special about the Giro….It?s known for ridiculously hard mountain stages in the last week of the race, snow on some of the passes the route goes through, individual climbing time trials although there aren?t any of that this year much to Cavendish?s delight, a weird looking gold trophy that looks suspiciously Formula 1-ish (if you win you get to keep until you have to give it back next year) Interesting things in the Giro past….well Contador the year he won and didn?t win, was not going to ride it. The week before he was relaxing on a beach and then he got called up to ride: he won without too much trouble.? Stage 1 race 1 was held in 1909 Alfredo Binda, following 3 consecutive wins was paid 22,500 lire in 1930 by the organisers NOT TO COMPETE. He holds the record for most wins during a race: 12 stages out of 15 in 1927. Although [W:Mario Cipollini], The Lion King sprinter, has won 1 more stage overall in the Giro than Binda with 42 versus 41 over the career. In 1933 the King of the Mountains and individual time trials were held for the first time and some of the riders haven?t finished yet, apparently it was pretty tough… 1950 saw the first non-Italian winner….41 years after it started….Swiss Hugo Koblet. For the record non-Italians had been allowed to compete prior to this. 1960 saw the first French winner….[W:Jacques Anquetil]…wie Eddy Merckx won 5 times between 1968-1979 Since then [W:Bernard Hinault] and big Mig Indurain have had their time and [W:Marco Pantini] ?the Pirate? who died of drug overdose made his name there. Drugs have been synonymous with winners….Danio de luca, Pantini, Basso, and Contador the list goes on…. And finally….Milan has seen action 137 times and Rome 100 making them the most visited cities/towns in ?The Giro?. Yes if you do the maths, this is the races 95th edition; it means they both featured more than once in more than one edition or hadn?t you noticed that? What else are you missing in life? This year take some time and check it out. Cycling isn?t just the [W:Tour de France] and the 2nd biggest race in the world deserves a look. Questions for you to get answers to so you know you are now a follower of cycling:
- Which way around Italy does the route go: clockwise or anti-clockwise?
- How many teams begin with the letter ?S??
- What are the colours of the Jersey?s of ?The Giro??
- Name 6 towns a stage of The Giro 2012 finishes in with correct pronunciation
What are you waiting for; you now have an excuse to not do whatever it is you do not want to…go find the answers.