By Gregor Brown
The Giro d'Italia stage 12 time trial will be shorter but harder than originally planned. Instead of a flat run from Barbaresco to Barolo, the pink jersey race will climb the red wine producing hills on May 22.
Piedmont's tourism and sports councillor, Alberto Cirio said, "We couldn't let the route, passing down the valley, be one of warehouses instead of wines."
Cirio announced the decision yesterday in Alba with Giro d'Italia organisers, including technical director, Mauro Vegni. TargatoCn.it and Ciclo Web reported on the meeting this morning.
The originally published 46.4-kilometre time trial began in Barbaresco, passed Alba and Cherasco and finished in Barolo. It cut though the famous region of red wines without actually seeing the grapes on the vine. The Northwest region of Piedmont asked to change that.
Instead of 46.4, the time trial will cover 43 kilometres. More importantly, it climbs straight into the hills southeast of Alba instead of taking the valley road to the north. Cirio said that it will pass Manera vineyards, travel down through the valley through Alba and before Barolo, head through the Bussia vineyards.
A delicate balance
The long and flat time trial had sat well with the numerous and difficult climbs in the final week. Instead, the changes could tip the Giro's delicate balance towards the climbers.
Two days later, the Corsa Rosa reaches its first high-mountaintop finish in Oropa. It continues in the same vein for the rest of its journey towards Trieste on June 1 with finishes at Montecampione, Val Martello, Panarotta, Cima Grappa and Zoncolan.
Alex Dowsett (Movistar) won the Giro's time trial this year. It covered 54.8 kilometres but the short finishing climb to Saltara also helped the climbers. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) finished second at 10 seconds but eventual Giro d'Italia winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) placed fourth at 21 seconds.
Overall contenders for the pink jersey, like Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp), will welcome the Barolo news. Others like Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) would have preferred gaining time by the warehouses instead of visiting Piedmont's vineyards.
Giro d'Italia 2014: Stages
Stage one - May 9, Belfast-Belfast TTT, 21.7km
Stage two - May 10, Belfast-Belfast, 218km
Stage three - May 11, Armagh-Dublin, 187km
REST DAY - May 12, transfer
Stage four - May 13, Giovinazzo-Sari, 121km
Stage five - May 14, Taranto-Viggiano, 200km
Stage six - May 15, Sassano-Montecassino, 247km
Stage seven - May 16, Frosinone-Foligno, 214km
Stage eight - May 17, Foligno-Montecopiolo, 174km
Stage nine - May 18, Lugo-Sestola, 174km
REST DAY - May 19, Modena
Stage 10 - May 20, Modena-Salsomaggiore Terme, 184km
Stage 11 - May 21, Collecchio-Savona, 249km
Stage 12 - May 22, Barbaresco-Barolo ITT, 43km
Stage 13 - May 23, Fossano-Rivarolo Canavese, 158km
Stage 14 - May 24, Agliè-Oropa, 162km
Stage 15 - May 25, Valdengo-Montecampione, 217km
REST DAY - May 26, Ponte di Legno
Stage 16 - May 27, Ponte di Legno-Val Martello, 139km
Stage 17 - May 28, Sarnonico-Vittorio Veneto, 204km
Stage 18 - May 29, Belluno-Rif. Panarotta, 171km
Stage 19 - May 30, Bassano del Grappa-Cima Grappa ITT, 26.8km
Stage 20 - May 31, Maniago-Monte Zoncolan, 167km
Stage 21 - June 1, Gemona del Friulli-Trieste, 169km
Giro d'Italia 2014 route presented