Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Giro d'Italia 2016 and Umbertide

Exciting news in our community. On Saturday, May 14th, the Giro d'Italia will pass through Umbertide!This will be the 99th running of the Giro.  Can you imagine the excitement here next year as they celebrate a 100 year race?

Here is a Q& A for those of you who wonder what it is all about.

What does the Giro mean?
Giro d'Italia basically means Tour of Italy, in Italian.

Is it a big deal race?
Yes. It along with the Tour de France in France and the Vuelta a Espana in Spain make up the three Grand Tours of bicyling.

Which race is the oldest?
Don't tell the Italians but the Tour de France is the oldest and and generally considered the most prestigious.

When did the Italian race begin?
It was first organized in 1909 in order to sell more newspapers, and has been run every year since  except for the interruptions of the World Wars.

What's with the pink? Is this in support of breast cancer?
No. Instead of a yellow jersey, as in the Tour de France, the Italians have the Pink Jersey.  It is called "Maglia Rosa" (one s) in Italian. Rossa with 2 s's means red. (you're welcome for the Italian lesson.) The Pink Jersey is worn by the leader of the race. If you follow the race you will see "Fight for the Pink" signs..It means fight for the lead.

Do any of the Italian riders have a chance?
Oh, ye of little faith. There is always a chance. The Italian, Ulissi Diego, won the 4th stage today! Also there is hope for Vicenzo Nibali. As in the Tour de France, the real competition happens in the mountains.

Who are the favorites to win?(I will list the nationalities. The teams are quite meaningless to me)

Vicenzo Nibali, Italian:  Sky odds 13/8
 Mikel Landa, Spanish:  Sky odds 2/1 (Said to be the best climber hence the odds)
Alejandro Valvedere, Spanish: Sky odds 6/1
Tom Dumoulin, Dutch:  Sky odds 18/1...he is the current leader.

Our guy Ulissi doesn't show up in the odds, if that tells you anything.

How many teams and riders are there?
There are 189 riders and 22 teams. I can't imagine all of them zooming through Umbertide!

When does the race finish?
It started on May 6th and will finishes in Turin on May 29th.

When is the Umbertide part of the race?
Umbertide will be on Stage 8 of the race. This part of the race starts in Foligno, home of our major train station, and finishes in Arezzo. It is 186 km. with hills and a steep, gravel road near the finish. Saturday's race is said to be one of the more entertaining stages because of the rough surface. If it rains, the road will be really bad and probably make for excellent TV. We expect them to zoom through Umbertide about 2:17pm Central European Time. 

Where are the pictures?
You have to wait. The Stoic One will be camera ready waiting for them! I'll post as soon as possible.

Is this really worth my time to watch?
If you enjoy watching the Tour de France,  you must tune it for this. The country side where they will be racing is beautiful and everyone thinks this will be a close race.

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