By Graham Jones
and Barry Boyce

CyclingRevealed Historians



Giro d'Italia Champions
Living and Dead





CyclingRevealed's Giro '08 Perspective

Tappa 16, May 26th, San Vigilio di Marebbe to Plan de Corones, 12.9 km Mountain ITT

More Pain Please

These are the words echoed by fans not riders. After two brutal mountain stages the organizers of the 2008 Giro d'Italia have returned to the site of a snowed out Stage 17 in 2006 (see CR's Marketing Assassins!). The allure of modern day racing on “un-made” dirt roads such as the 2005 climb of the Finestre sent Giro course designers looking for new and harder ways of challenging the riders. The Plan de Corones was that discovery.

1948 TdF. Bobet leads Bartali near Aix-les-Bains. Such conditions were not
unusual in the mountains during the first half of the 20th Century

Obviously a touch of retro racing creates huge spectator appeal and once more the Giro marketing formula is delivering much to the delight of the tifosi. This year the Giro has upped the challenge by creating one of the toughest time trials on the Pro Tour/racing schedule.

The Plan de Corones is just one of the tasty morsels! The climb rises 1,066 meters in elevation over a 12.85 km course with sections of 16%, 20%, and a brutal 24% near the end. More pain please…!

Just days before the Giro arrived snow plows were clearing the road [ Image ©: ]

Calm focus is the mantra of the day for the riders. But all are asking pressure filled questions: Can race leader Alberto Contador keep his cool persona? Can Riccardo Ricco take back 33 seconds? Can Emanuele Sella stay hot and win his third stage in a row? Can Denis Menchov continue his drive up the General Classification? Or who will be the next star to survive the pain and go for the glory of the Maglia Rosa????

The stage is set. Confident Italians claimed a home court advantage and predicted a Danilo Di Luca victory (no stranger to pain), followed by Gilberto Simoni, and Marzo Bruseghin. But Contador is the last rider to start and will have the advantage of knowing all the time splits to beat. Let the pain begin.

Four contenders show their pain up the 24% section [ Images ©: ]

One by one the contenders came to the start house to make their claim to the crown. Emanuele Sella set the time to beat at the 7.6 km time check and finished his effort with the fastest time with 9 more contenders to come. Next to challenge Sella was Franco Pellizotti. Through the intermediate time check Pellizotti trialed by 22 seconds. On the steep gravel section Pellizotti excelled and finished 6 seconds ahead of Sella to take the to take the lead.

Last off the start ramp was race leader Alberto Contador. Through the intermediate time check he was 10 seconds behind Sella, 12 seconds ahead of Pellizotti, and more importantly 1 second ahead of Ricco. Contador struggled with the pain but powered his way up climb.

Extraordinary effort by Franco Pellizotti [ Image ©: ]

Across the finish line Contador faded slightly and lost 22” to stage winner Franco Pellizotti and beat closest overall contender Riccardo Ricco by 8 seconds. Contador extended his lead in the General Classification to 41” and put on another Maglia Rosa.

Race Leader Alberto Contador powers to the finish [ Image ©: ]

Stage winner Franco Pellizotti gave the tifosi an extraordinary effort and claimed the crown for King of Pain at the top of the Plan de Corones.

Stage winner Franco Pellizotti crowned King of Pain [ Images © La Gazetta ]



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