This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Bluffers guide: The second Sunday sees the Giro reaches its southernmost point. It starts at Sulmona (World capital of… confetti) for 220 bruising, sweaty kilometres on heavy southern roads. At its conclusion a hard-core 9 kilometres ramp up to Lake Laceno will decide all. In the 1970s, the back end of Italy’s “economic boom”, this place was ultra-fashionable for well-to-do trekkers. Apparently it’s trendy again, but regardless it’ll play host to a brutal, spectacular last hour. Not to be missed…
Buon appetito: Given its geography, Abruzzese cuisine draws from all corners. However, in Montepulciano d’Abruzzo it has unique - and deeply wonderful - jewel of a red. It’s a perfect partner to lamb (another local speciality) and of late has been winning friends all over the world.
Local hero: Davide Appollonio (Team Sky)– One of the fastest sprinters in the bunch in his own right, Appollonio may find himself performing lead-out duties for Mark Cavendish at the Giro. An hour or two into today’s stage, he’ll also find himself passing through his home town, Isernia, in the Molise region.
Pier Bergonzi says: “As ever when the Giro starts abroad, it’s Southern Italy which pays. The climb will make some holes in the GC, and it’ll be about power more than anything else. Last time the Giro came here was in 1998, Pantani’s Giro. Alex Zülle won that day, and I expect a similar rider to do well here.”
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