This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Bluffers guide: South across the Apennine ridge, the race reaches an altogether different Italy. This is Abruzzo, the gateway to the South, with its huge skies and implacable landscapes. A big finish atop the ski station of Rocca di Cambio the race will honour the dead of the 2009 Earthquake, and start to sort the GC wheat from the chaff. As ever on the second weekend, the losers – if not yet the winners – will be cruelly exposed…
Buon appetito: Yet again an embarrassment of riches. As befits a hunting region, Pasta in a hare stew is a firm favourite, as is Risotto con le quaglie, with quail. Goose meat is another, but the choice is so abundant that you’d need a lifetime (or at least several weeks) to have a real appreciation of il cibo Abruzzese.
Local hero: Alessandro Spezialetti (Lampre) – The Lampre domestique was born in Switzerland but has long been resident in Abruzzo. Spezialetti will be key to Scarponi’s challenge, having also shepherded Gilberto Simoni, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca to Giro wins in the past.
Pier Bergonzi says: “This is where it starts to get really serious, following a week dedicated to attackers and sprinters. It’s more a climb for the likes of Di Luca and Visconti than the “pure” climbers, but all told there are more than 3000 metres of climbing, and so I expect a small group to go away. Psychologically the heat starts to get turned up here.”
© RCS Sport