Team Marketing Coordinator Milay Galvez joined Denis Menchov, Gianpaolo Cheula, Fabio Duarte, David Blanco, and Carlos Sastre Easter weekend as they did recon rides of the climbs that will comprise the Dolomite stages of the Giro.
The stages in the Dolomites, which will traverse the provinces of Veneto, Friuli, and Trentino (where Fabio Duarte recently earned his first victory), will be integral components of this year’s Giro course, believed by many to be the toughest ever. GEOX-TMC Team Owner Mauro Gianetti told Milay, “How you perform during these stages can make you win or lose the Giro.”
The climbs are strenuous and require an extremely high level of endurance and concentration on the bike, Milay observed while in Italy. Additionally, the pace the riders will keep during the stages will leave no time for eating, and therefore, generating the much needed extra energy on climbs will prove very challenging.
Menchov and Blanco set the pace on Day 1, which included a 70-km ride on Monte Crostis and Monte Zoncolan in Fruili in the morning before an afternoon trip to the Grossglockner climb in Austria.
Menchov and Blanco rode side by side through the climbs. While learning and absorbing the course was one of the primary objectives of the recon rides, it was also an important opportunity for the riders to work together.
In Milay’s words, “It was fascinating to see the team’s top riders form working partnerships. The team’s two leaders worked with their super-domestiques as they learned the climbs, as well as determined the pace each rider was capable of maintaining.”
After the ride, Menchov, winner of the 2009 Giro d’Italia, spoke of how difficult the climbs will be come the end of May.
“We all know how hard the Zoncolan is, but I think the Crostis will also be grueling; it’s an all new climb that I wasn’t familiar with, and I really wanted to see it before the Giro,” said Menchov.
“It’s extremely challenging, but the real problem will be coming off it on the steep, technical downhill on a narrow road with ruined asphalt. We’re going to have to be very careful. It’s going to be a problem to eat, drink, and recuperate on this downhill before attacking the Zoncolan,” Menchov added.
Sastre works his way up a climb.
Note the rough gravel on many parts of the long climb through the forest.
Nearing the summit on Day 1.
Sastre and Duarte take the lead.
Arriving at the alpine tundra above the tree line.
The remarkable Dolomites landscape.
The narrow, winding route atop the mountain.
David Blanco takes a minute to enjoy the view before the descent.
Blanco soaks in the alpine scenery after the long, hard climb.
Carlos cracking jokes as always.
Duarte looking calm, cool, and collected at the top of the climb.
Sastre, Sport Director Daniele Nardello, and Cheula look at a map of the Giro course before setting out on recon ride #2.
The second day of training entailed a nearly 80-km ride on the roads of the Belluno Province: the Passo Giau and the Passo Fedaia.
Blanco and Menchov again lead the climb.
Climbing the Passo Giau, 2236 meters above sea level.
Cheula and Blanco fight their way up the mountain.
“Giau and Fedaia are two important climbs, always worthy of respect,” said Carlos Sastre after the ride. “Giau is hardest in the final stretch, and the Fedaia has that central part with long straights that seem endless.”