The four-day Giro del Trentino Melinda will again provide perfect final preparation for the Giro d’Italia, with a clash between Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Mikel Landa (Team Sky) likely to give a taste of what is to come in the first Grand Tour of the season in May.
The four stages of this year’s race were unveiled on Tuesday, with race organisers GS Alto Garda confirming that the 40th edition of the Italian stage race will be broadcast live on television.
Eighteen teams will take part in the four days of racing between Tuesday April 19 and Friday April 22, including Ag2r-La Mondiale, Astana and Team Sky, with the trio of Domenico Pozzovivo, Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet set to take on Nibali and Landa.
The Androni-Sidermec, Bardiani-CSF, Bora-Argon 18, Caja Rural Seguros RGA, Drapac, Gazprom-Rusvelo, Nippo-Fantini, Southeast-Venezuela Professional Continentals teams plus SkyDive Dubai, Tirol, Amore&Vita-SMP, Norda-MG KVis and D’Amico-Bottecchia) and two national teams from Italy and Brazil complete the field.
Nibali has won the Giro del Trentino twice in his career and will be looking for a third victory before targeting the Giro d’Italia. The 31-year-old from Sicily will have an opportunity to tie Damiano Cunego for the most overall wins in Trentino. Nibali has always performed in the Trentino mountains, winning his first Italian national title in the area too.
Last year’s race saw Landa clash with Richie Porte and the Basque rider will be back to face Nibali this year as he tries to get his debut season with Team Sky back on track following a difficult spring due to illness. Landa rode the recent Coppi e Bartli stage race but the Giro del Trentino will give a real indication if he can still be a Giro d’Italia contender. Landa was third at the Corsa Rosa last year and second at Giro del Trentino Melinda. Now sporting the Team Sky colours, the Spaniard is looking the claim the highest step of the podium.
Bardet rode the Giro del Trentino in preparation for Liege-Bastogne-Liege last year and finished sixth in the last Classic of the spring. Nibali is also set to use the four days of racing in the mountains to prepare for the Doyenne of the Classics.
The strong field also features recent Coppi e Bartali winner Sergey Firsanov, three-time overall winner Damiano Cunego, Young British rider Hugh Carthy (Caja Rural), who was ninth and best climber at the Volta a Catalunya, plus Australian talent Brendan Canty (Drapac), who was seventh overall and best young rider at the Tour of Oman.
The four stages
As per tradition, the Giro del Trentino Melinda will start with a team time trial from Riva del Garda to Torbole at the tip of the spectacular Lake Garda. It will be a 12,1km test on flat roads, with a few technical corner through the fields and residential area of the two holiday towns.
Stage 2 is the longest stage at 220km with the race heading from Arco to Austria for a finish Anras in the Tirol region. The stages is a steady climb through the Bolzano valley up to 1,000m before a four-kilometre ramp up to the finish at 1,260m.
The third stage finishes in Mezzolombardo after 204.5km and two long climbs: the Nova Ponente and above all the Fai della Paganella, which climbs at 7.5% for 12%, before a 15km descent to the finish. It will be a stage for strong climbers with excellent descending skills and will most likely decide the overall classification.
The roads of the former Trofeo Melinda host the final stage and so crown the winner in the 40th edition of the Giro del Trentino. The 160.9km stage loops around both the Val di Sole e Val di Non famous for the Melinda apples, with three categories climbs and plenty of others.
Thanks to support from the Italian Lega of professional cycling the Giro del Trentino will be live on television on Raisport in Italy and via Eleven Sports, Bike Channel UK, TV2, Fox Sports, L'Equipe 21, ESPN, Laola and EBU in different parts of the world.
Cyclingnews will have full coverage of the Giro del Trentino, with exclusive news and interviews during the four days of racing.