Discovery Channel directeur sportif Sean Yates has accompanied Tom Danielson on a reconnaissance mission through the mountain stages for this year's Giro, according to the latest diary entry on his site seanyates.co.uk. In it he speaks about the Plan de Corones and the difficulties riders will face come race day.
"Yesterday we went to look at the finish on Plan de Corones. You can see from the pictures that they are still building the road, if that's what you could call it. It is really bad, we're going to use 33-28. It will be interesting to see how they manage to get up it; not so much the leaders, it's the rest of the peloton that I am worried about.
The stage is only 130km long, it also climbs the 30km long Passo di Erbe, and that means that the non climbers are really going to suffer big time if they want to get to the finish inside the time limit. Mind you, the Giro is not the Tour, and pushing riders is rife, plus hanging on cars, motorbikes, in fact anything that is going faster than themselves," says Yates.
Yates says that America's great white hope for the Giro, Tom Danielson, is looking forward to the challenge thrown up by the difficult Italian climbs. He says that, "Tom is really excited by all this, and is looking forward to it all going off in that last week. He can climb fast, really fast, it's amazing to watch him when I am following in the car.
I will give you an example; stage 16 finishes just outside Trento on top of an 17.6 km climb, the Monte Bondone. The average gradient for the climb is 7.7%. There is an altitude gain of around 1,300 metres. In training riding at around 170 beats per minute which for him is a medium tempo he got up it in one hour dead. I rode it early in the morning, using the 39x27 virtually the whole way and did the climb in one hour and eighteen minutes. That was with an average power output of 294 watts.
Look out for Tom Danielson's diaries during the Giro, exclusively on Cyclingnews.