With the Giro d’Italia set to start in Amsterdam in just over one week’s time, some of the Grand Tour’s overall hopefuls have commenced final reconnaissance on one of the event’s key stages to Plan de Corones. World Champion Cadel Evans was one of the riders scouting the key climb on Friday, as were Gilberto Simoni, Franco Pellizotti, Matteo Bono and Michele Scarponi.
While the Tour de France remains Evans’ main focus for 2010, the BMC Racing Team rider will mount a serious challenge at the Giro. The Australian is in good form having won last month’s La Fléche Wallonne, one of the Spring Classic season’s final races.
Pellizotti was shocked at Evans’ approach to the climb, telling La Gazzetta dello Sport: "Evans took off after three kilometres. Just like that. A man solo and in charge."
Lampre-Farnese Vini's sport director Fabrizio Bontempi said the nature of the climb means a thorough reconnaissance is required in order to approach the stage correctly on race day. "Only if you try to pedal on the Plan de Corones climb can you understand how tough it is,” he told tuttobiciweb.it. “So this training will be very important in order to understand the proper way to face this stage.”
The Plan de Corones stage will play a vital role in the Giro’s outcome, with riders taking on the 12.9 kilometre route from San Vigilio di Marebbe in the Stage 16 individual time trial. The stretch of road not only includes 5353 metres of dirt road but also reaches 24% in gradient in parts.
RCS Sport attempted to use Plan de Corones in 2006 however it didn’t debut until 2008 after it was removed at the last minute due to destabilisation of the roads caused by snow. When it was finally included in the Italy race’s route, Pellizotti claimed the stage victory.