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Giro d'Italia 2014

Date range:
May 9 - June 1
  • Giro d'Italia, ITA, WorldTour
  • Stages Expand the race menu
    • Stage 1

      Distance:
      21.7km
      Start location:
      Belfast
      End location:
      Belfast
    • Stage 2

      Distance:
      219km
      Start location:
      Belfast
      End location:
      Belfast
    • Stage 3

      Distance:
      187km
      Start location:
      Armagh
      End location:
      Dublin
    • Rest Day

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 4

      Distance:
      112km
      Start location:
      Giovinazzo
      End location:
      Bari
    • Stage 5

      Distance:
      203km
      Start location:
      Taranto
      End location:
      Viggiano
    • Stage 6

      Distance:
      257km
      Start location:
      Sassano
      End location:
      Montecassino
    • Stage 7

      Distance:
      211km
      Start location:
      Frosinone
      End location:
      Foligno
    • Stage 8

      Distance:
      179km
      Start location:
      Foligno
      End location:
      Montecopiolo
    • Stage 9

      Distance:
      172km
      Start location:
      Lugo
      End location:
      Sestola
    • Rest Day 2

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 10

      Distance:
      173km
      Start location:
      Modena
      End location:
      Salsomaggiore
    • Stage 11

      Distance:
      249km
      Start location:
      Collecchio
      End location:
      Savona
    • Stage 12

      Distance:
      41.9km
      Start location:
      Barbaresco
      End location:
      Barolo (ITT)
    • Stage 13

      Distance:
      157km
      Start location:
      Fossano
      End location:
      Rivarolo Canavese
    • Stage 14

      Distance:
      164km
      Start location:
      Agliè
      End location:
      Oropa
    • Stage 15

      Distance:
      225km
      Start location:
      Valdengo
      End location:
      Montecampione
    • Rest Day 3

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 16

      Distance:
      139km
      Start location:
      Ponte di Legno
      End location:
      Val Martello/Martelltal
    • Stage 17

      Distance:
      208km
      Start location:
      Sarnonico
      End location:
      Vittorio Veneto
    • Stage 18

      Distance:
      171km
      Start location:
      Belluno
      End location:
      Rif. Panarotta
    • Stage 19

      Distance:
      26.8km
      Start location:
      Bassano del Grappa
      End location:
      Cima Grappa (ITT)
    • Stage 20

      Distance:
      167km
      Start location:
      Maniago
      End location:
      Monte Zoncolan
    • Stage 21

      Distance:
      172km
      Start location:
      Gemona
      End location:
      Trieste
  • Race history

May 28, Stage 17: Sarnonico - Vittorio Veneto 208km

By:
Cycling News
Published:
April 16, 2014, 20:23 BST,
Updated:
May 06, 2014, 4:27 BST

May 28, 2014 - Sarnonico - Vittorio Veneto, 208 km

LOCAL HERO
These days the Veneto is wealthy as never before, but it wasn’t ever thus. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century it suffered massive outward migration to South America, the United States and to the big industrial cities further west.

Back then the sport of cycling, like boxing, was a way out of serfdom. The likes of Learco Guerra and Ottavio Bottecchia, the two great Venetian champions of the 1920s, were cases in point. Bottecchia won the Tour de France in 1923 and 1924, and cycling has been building myths around him ever since. Legend has it that his mum and dad named him Ottavio because he was the eighth child, and because they couldn’t think of any more names. Be that as it may, Bottecchia was too hungry to concern himself with fanciful notions of cycling as a spiritual metaphor. He and his like suffered like dogs not because they thought it "enlightening" (that’s a 21st century conceit), but because they were skint. And skint in 1920s Veneto didn’t mean the absolute horror of having to forego the latest iPhone. Skint meant having to forego your dinner.

SEE, HEAR, FEEL...
Food, it goes without saying, is a national obsession here. Every region has its trademark dishes, and everyone, everywhere, is familiar with them. Ask an Italian about Emilia-Romagna and they won’t wax lyrical about incidentals like Parma’s amazing 12th century duomo or Bologna’s great socialist traditions. What they will do, though, is give you chapter and verse about piadine, Parmigiano-Reggiano and tortellini.

And so it is with Veneto. Aside from staples like Asiago (Italy’s most popular cheese) and the asparagus for which the region is justly famous, Veneto is synonymous with big, strong, plentiful cooking. Amongst others it’s the home of polenta rossa, gnocchi al pomodoro and sardee in soar, fried sardines in an onion and vinegar marinade. All washed down with a very fine 1992 Valpolicella. To die for.

MOMENT IN TIME
When Ohio’s Andy Hampsten clinched the 1988 Giro in Vittorio Veneto, the European monopoly on the Giro was broken. The Italian media made prescient reference to the changing demographic of the peloton, and informed us that this was just the beginning.

Hampsten, they informed us, was one of the new breed. The son of two university lecturers, he had a university degree, spoke four languages and, hilariously, "didn’t confuse the painter Vermeer with a Flemish sprinter." He and second-placed Dutchman Erik Breukink, another of the bourgeoisie, had confounded the notion that only the hungry sons of illiterate farmers and factory workers made decent cyclists. They were "yuppies", and cycling, the opera of the working classes, need get used to them. And you know what? They were right…

SCINTO SAYS
By now you have maybe fifteen guys riding for the overall, a few for the points and mountains, and then the rest. So that’s 130-150 riders for whom it’s all about their powers of recovery. If they’ve survived the previous day it’s because they’re totally committed to finishing, but it doesn’t alter the fact that their bodies are screaming at them to stop.

They’ve had about eighteen hours rest and they’re starting to go into the red. Most will be hoping that the break goes straight away, because then they can relax. It will go sooner or later, but it could be an hour and a half of living hell before the elastic snaps. It’s 200 kilometres and quite bumpy, but they all know that once it goes it’s almost certain to stay away.


2014 Giro d'Italia map for stage 17
2014 Giro d'Italia profile for stage 17