With registration still open until stage 6, today's rest day in the Giro is also an excellent opportunity for budding team managers to assemble their respective dream teams and enter the 2006 Giro d'Italia Fantasy Game.
We have been hinting at it all week, and now we can reveal more about the Grand Prize in this year's Giro d'Italia Fantasy Game: it is a special-edition bicycle from Bianchi, the legendary Italian firm of Treviglio, released just in time for this year's edition of the Grand Tour.
Called the 'Via Nirone 7 Alu Carbon Mirage', it is painted in the same colour-scheme of ProTour and Giro team, Liquigas, which will be looking to support its lead rider Danilo Di Luca as the race hits the mountains this week.
In fact, the Via Nirone is so new it is not even in the Bianchi 2006 catalogue - it is purely "a special version available in some Bianchi shops to celebrate Giro", said a Bianchi spokesperson. The special model has an excellent design and development pedigree, as it comes from the 'Reparto Corse' division of Bianchi (its racing bicycles area) and bristles with many new features.
Of particular interest is the first application of Campagnolo's new 'Ultra Torque' 10-speed Mirage compact crankset (34/50T) with integrated bottom-bracket. The Via Nirone 7 is the only bicycle on the market to feature this new release from Campagnolo.
The frame is made of aeronautic-grade 7000 series aluminium, with double- and triple-butted tubes smoothly TIG-welded and with a carbon monostay rear-end to smooth out the road vibes.
Bianchi describes the frameset as having relaxed geometry to allow for long days in the saddle, while retaining relatively quick steering. It also features a saddle d'Italia. The Via Narone 7 also features Campagnolo's new 'Khamsin' wheelset, as well as a Selle Italia saddle and an ITM stem and handlebar. For full details, including the frame geometry chart, you can download the PDF.
The Bianchi is only one of many great prizes in this year's Giro d'Italia Fantasy Game. Other great prizes include:
From BBB Parts, our daily stage winner will win the official sports glasses of the Quick.Step-Innergetic professional cycling team.
Called "BSG-23 Winner Team Quick-Step" the glasses have a durable, flexible and lightweight Grilamid frame; adjustable metal nose piece for a perfect fit; and interchangeable polycarbonate lenses with 100% protection against harmful UV rays, up to UV 400nm.
The glasses are matte silver with the Quick.Step logo on the band and come with smoke blue revo lenses. They also come with three extra lenses; orange, yellow and clear with a flash mirror coating, and a carrying case so that you have a lens for all types of weather.
A pair of HED's Stinger wheels - the HED Stinger 50 is an all carbon wheel ideal for road racing. With a 50mm rim depth, it is more aerodynamic than a traditional alloy rimmed road wheel. While this rim depth is more aerodynamic, it is not too deep that handling will be compromised in crosswinds or a crowded peloton;
Three Giro Atmos helmets - from Giro. We have three Atmos helmets, the same model worn by some of the best riders and teams in this year's Giro d'Italia;
Three sets of Speedplay's Zero pedals - from Speedplay. We have three sets of its Zero pedals, as used in the Giro d'Italia by teams like CSC and Phonak;
Team replica cycling clothing by Santini - several of the teams in this year's Giro are wearing clothing supplied by Italian company Santini, and Cyclingnews has three complete sets of team clothing on offer as prizes in the Fantasy Game;
Three fi'zi:k saddles - some of the best saddles in Italy come from fi'zi:k, and we have three of them as prizes in the Fantasy Game;
10 sets of Maxxis Courchevel road tyres - the Courchevel road tyre from Maxxis is one of cycling's best road racing tyres. It is a completely new design from Maxxis, from the rubber to the casing. The Courchevel features 'Triple Compound Technology' to provide long wear life, great traction and a better transition from compound to compound.
Play for FREE in the Giro 2006 game
Remember you can play for free for the first 5 stages! Try the game out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Tour games - all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing in this year's Giro start list. Then each day pick 9 riders to race for your fantasy team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of climbers, sprinters and general classification riders. For more details go to the rules section of the site for more info. It's a great way to follow the Giro 2006.
To register your teams for the game go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team