|The 7.85km circuit - the Elite Women will complete|
three laps (click for enlargement)
Italy, 23.55km Individual Time Trial, UCI 1.2
Be Pink are Tweeting from the race
↓↓↓Parcours, starters (when available), weather↓↓↓
Davide Fardelli, born on the 6th of January 1972, discovered his love of cycling aboard a mountain bike when he was 28 years old - older than most, so he made sure that he made up for lost time by riding as much as possible. "The bike, you know, is a love that often has no limits" says the official race website; in 2002 he decided to give road cycling a go. While he continued mountain biking, road cycling became his passion and, before long, he began to do well in amateur races. Then, on the 26th of August in 2004, he was badly injured in a crash. Four days later, having experienced a great deal of pain, he died. This race is a celebration of his life and of the sport he loved, now in its eighth edition and bigger than ever before.
It consists of six events in total, all of them individual time trials. The Elite Professional men and women race on an identical 23.55km parcours consisting of three laps of a 7.85km circuit with a small hill (17m in 0.86km, average gradient a little over 1.5%, maximum 4% near the top) beginning just after 1km from the start line. The rest is either slightly descending or flat, making it a parcours likely to generate very high speeds. It's very much a race for the strong time trial specialists who are able to produce a lot of power for a long time through the several straight sections, then do the same again on the next - and keep it up for all three laps. There are one or two points where riders might need to exercise caution, but overall this is not a technical parcours: it's more about power than finesse and even the predicted bad weather is unlikely to create many problems.
The race takes place in a glacial valley just north-east of Lago d'Iseo, Lombardy's fourth-largest lake, beginning at a car park on the SS42 road at Rondinera in Bergamo. Mountains rear up immediately to the north and the fortified village of Castelfranco, atop a rocky outcrop, can just be seen from the road. To the south, more mountains can be seen above the roof line of a building bearing the name Fardelli Ernesto & C. - the headquarters of the Global Radiators company created by Davide Fardelli's father, and where he worked before his death. Having turned right out of the car park and onto the SS42, riders will want to make use of the smooth, modern road surface to get up to a reasonable speed immediately but not risk using up too much energy that might be put to a better use later on. There has been a lot of construction work taking place on the far side of Rondinera, around 0.75km from the start; riders will need to take care on their first passage in case there is sand or mud on the road. This is especially likely with the heavy rain forecast for the end of the week and lighter rain through the weekend as the houses to the left of the road are built right up against the lower slopes of the mountains, giving ample opportunity for soil and stones to be washed down onto the road. If the rain keeps up throughout the race, there's no guarantee that because the road surface was free of mud on one passage it will be on the next, either.
|Click for enlargement|
|2011 winner Judith Arndt, seen here at|
the 2012 Olympics
It seems almost impossible that the riders were passing industrial units only minutes before at this point on the parcours - there is an old and very beautiful house right by the corner, and the narrow road they turn onto looks as though it runs over an Alpine meadow. Cows are grazed along here but, kept off the road by electric fencing, shouldn't have left any slippery surprises; if the weather forecast turns out to be completely wrong, the main issue on this stretch is likely to be wind - there's little cover and riding into a wind blowing north-east off the lake would be hard work, while riding with a tail wind blowing down through the valley from the high mountains (which top 3,100m only 40km away) would make it more like land-yachting than cycling. The road is narrow but it's flat, smooth, mostly straight and likely to be very fast indeed, any rider who feels she had the strength in her legs when she approaches the finish line for the final time, knowing her race is almost over and that she has no need to conserve energy for layer, could put it to very good use and steal a big lead over her rivals by switching up to full power and then hammering through the 1km section between the left turn at the start and the right turn at the end - and could just as easily lose it in the last 200m, where overhanging trees make punctures more likely than anywhere else on the parcours.
1. Edwige PITEL 33'29"
2. Martina RITTER +15"
3. Pascale SCHNIDER +21"
4. Patricia SCHWAGER +25"
5. Katarína HRANAIOVÁ +53"
6. Oxana KOZONCHUK +54"
7. Thrude KARLSEN +57"
8. Doris SCHWEIZER +1'18"
9. Jacqueline HAHN +1'19"
10. Susanna ZORZI +1'20"
Not looking good at all. Thunderstorms and 47mm of rain are predicted for Thursday, which is more than enough to bring mud onto the roads as described above. Sporadic heavy rain is also predicted for Friday, then heavy showers on Saturday. Race day morning should be dry with the wind blowing up the valley from the south west, more showers are expected in the afternoon when the wind will reverse direction - however, it'll be no stronger than around 5kph. Maximum temperature is expected to be around 27C.