The distance of the stage 12 time trial from Barbaresco to Barolo has been reduced from its original 46km, and rather than following a parcours along the valley floor, riders will instead tackle a significantly more undulating 43km course.
The original course featured the climb of Vergine with 7 kilometres to go and another short rise to the finish at Barolo, but was otherwise predominantly flat. The new route sees the insertion of an early climb to Manera, a detour through Alba and the addition of a climb to Castiglion Falletto before the finish.
The changes came about following a request from regional government officials in Piedmont, who wanted the course to showcase the famous wine-producing region by having the Giro wind its way through the picturesque Langhe hills.
“We couldn’t have the route become a time trial through barns and warehouses rather than a time trial through the vineyards themselves,” the Piedmont’s head of sport and tourism Alberto Cirio told targatocn.it. “While taking into consideration the requirements of the time trial, which couldn’t have excessive climbing, we’ve managed to bring the race through some of the most suggestive areas of our splendid hills.”
Cirio announced that the region also hopes to host a stage of the Giro in Piedmont wine country in 2015, albeit in the Roero hills on the other side of the Tanaro river, with a stage finish at Canale possible.
The alterations to the Barolo time trial should in theory tip the balance of the 2014 Giro further in favour of the pure climbers. The race’s other time trials are the opening day team time trial in Belfast and the uphill time trial to Monte Grappa on stage 19.
Although the 2014 Giro route is a balanced one, and includes a significant reduction on transfers between stages, the destination of the maglia rosa should still be decided in the high mountains, with summit finishes at Oropa, Montecampione, Val Martello, Rifugio Panarotta and Monte Zoncolan all featuring in the second half of the race.
The 2014 Giro d'Italia gets underway in Belfast on Friday, May 9 and finishes in Trieste on Sunday, June 1.