It's Grand Tour Time
Cycling is filled with tradition, but the Giro d'Italia is making a new history.
the Giro d'Italia forward in an intelligent manner and at the end of the day that's all that matters.
Professional cycling has too many "old boys" still lurking about with their outdated ways of dealing with the media as well as their athletes. To a few managers, the media is nothing but a nuisance. Again, I'm not about to say that managers need to be "best friends forever" with the media because that's what journalists aren't - just act reasonably.
I've had the experience of working with staff who are the face of the team who are either unaware of what a journalist's needs are, which in turn is not good for the squad, or they are just outright flaky, which makes the team look like an amateur organization. That dribbles down into the media and their teams don't get the attention they might deserve. Then the following year, when sponsors are reviewing their dollars and seeing how they were used they look at their "return on investment" - ROI. There are a couple of deal breakers with sponsors, and not getting media love is one of them.
Fortunately, those days seem to be waning as more and more professional media people are taking the place of the guy who spoke for the team as well as wrenched on the bikes. True story - I've spoken to those guys. I don't mean to sound harsh, but professional cycling needs to be treated professionally and having professionals in place is a step in that direction. That's why I applaud the hiring of Acquarone. Okay, I'm stepping off my soapbox ...
So what can we look for in this Giro? With the amount of climbs featured in this year's Giro it looks like a climber will wear pink in Milan. Stage 14 in the Alps is where we will start to see how the race will unfold. Another Alpine stage is number 17, which includes a new route. By then the clear favorites will have shown themselves.
The Queen Stage is stage 20 - Caldes/Val di Sole to Passo dello Stelvio. The side the racers will be climbing has 42 switchbacks and not a spot to recover. Then the final day is a 30 kilometer time trial in Milan. It's pan flat so it will go to a rider who has the ability to reach maximum speed and carry it the entire distance.
Full disclosure - I am terrible about picking winners in a bike race. Hell, last year I predicted Alberto Contador would win the Tour! The exception to the rule was my streak of Boonen wins this month. Instead I'm going to say that the winner of the Giro d'Italia will deserve the victory. I'm also going to predict that the racing will be interesting, we'll all tune in every day and dream how someday we're going to book that Italian holiday and climb the Stelvio ourselves.
Stay tuned to us here at Roadcycling.com for our 2012 Giro d'Italia coverage, including video highlights from all stages in our video section. While you