Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is reconnoitring the key Giro d'Italia stages ahead of the race next month. Yesterday, he rode part of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo stage and planned visits to other stages around this week's Giro del Trentino.
"Beautiful," Wiggins told La Gazzetta dello Sport sitting in a roadside restaurant near the peaks. "It's going to be a tough stage all and all. The last climb up to this point here, it's not incredibly hard, but the last five kilometres I think are really hard. The whole stage is going to be a tough stage."
The Tour de France champion rode from Cortina d'Ampezzo up Passo Tre Croci and the first ramps of Tre Cime di Lavaredo. In total, the road travels for 22 kilometres, up to 2304 metres, but Wiggins put his foot down after 16 - right were Tre Cime kicks off.
Snow shortened his recon yesterday. The final eight kilometres includes a section of 18% before reaching the Rifugio Auronzo.
Snow also annulled Tre Cime's first appearance in the Giro d'Italia in 1967. That year the organisers annulled the stage results after fans pushed almost all of the cyclists up the climb in blizzard conditions. Eddy Merckx won the stage the following year on the way to taking his first Grand Tour win.
The climb ends the Giro this year. All that is left is a final flat parade into Brescia the day after, on May 26. The Tre Cime stage travels 202 kilometres and climbs Costalunga, San Pellegrino and Giau before arriving at Cortina d'Ampezzo for the final 22 kilometres.
Sky's staff, including Tim Kerrison and Dario Cioni, drove Wiggins around the Costalunga and Giau passes because they were closed. Wiggins climbed the 11.8 kilometres from Moena to San Pellegrino and got in Sky's Jaguar heading for Cortina d'Ampezzo.
Next weekend, he plans to reconnoitre the first big summit finish to Altopiano del Montasio (stage 10) and what should be the key to his Giro, the 55.5km time trial to Saltara (8).
Trentino & (No) Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Wiggins races the Giro del Trentino tomorrow. The four-day stage race starts in Lienz, Austria and mostly unfolds in the Trentino province. The first day is split into two, with a team time trial in the afternoon. The stages on Wednesday to Vetriolo Terme and on Friday to Sega di Ala appear the toughest on paper.
Unlike his Tour de France lead-up last year, Wiggins is winless heading towards the Giro. Trentino will offer him his final chance to change that.
"We always race to try to win, the difference is that the races I've done, like in [the Tour of] Catalonia, there was no time trial. It's fair to say if there'd been a time trial in Catalonia I would've won the race because I limited my losses very well in the mountains and was close to the guys," Wiggins continued.
"I thought that those were the best races that were suited more to the Giro: the tough climbs, the tough mountain stages. It's a little bit outside of my comfort zone, it's all part of what we're building to towards the Giro."
Wiggins explained that he took antibiotics in the last three days for a saddle sore and that it would be too stressful to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"To do it two days after Trentino would be too stressful," he added, "I prefer to study the Giro in detail."
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