Team Colombia were amongst those in attendance for the 2014 Giro d'Italia route presentation in Milan on Monday afternoon, and for the most part, they liked what they saw. Manager Claudio Corti, Director Valerio Tebaldi and twice second place stage finisher at the Giro, Fabio Duarte, welcomed the course that looks to provide ample opportunity for the climbers in their ranks.
"It will be a demanding race, similar to 2013 to some extent, and we hope the weather will give us the chance to enjoy the show such great mountains are able to provide," said Corti. "Personally, I am glad the Val Martello stage [stage 16] will be back, after being cancelled in 2013 due to snow: it's a high-altitude stage, featuring both Gavia and Stelvio, and definitely one suited to the Colombian athletes' qualities."
Corti also welcomed the stage 19 hill climb time trial, believing it will be a much tougher test than the equivalent stage this year.
"The Plan di Montecampione [stage 15] was decisive several times at the Giro, and I think it might prove key this time too," added Corti. "In addition, the uphill time trial to Monte Grappa [stage 19] will be another important test, way more demanding than the one we faced in 2013, and suited to pure climbers."
Although the opening 21.7km team time trial and the 46km -mostly flat- stage 12 time trial are not suited to the Colombian team's strengths, Corti believes that whoever is going to win the Giro needs good climbing legs first and foremost.
"A 46 km time trial at stage 12 could mislead, but anyone who wants to win the Giro will need great climbing legs, in the first place. And I hope we will see another Colombian rider step on the final podium," Corti concluded.
Fabio Duarte finished a strong runner-up behind Vincenzo Nibali in the snow at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo this year having only found his legs late in the race. After viewing the parcours for next year's edition he is hoping, invite pending, to ready be to race from flag drop in Ireland with a strong GC performance now on his radar.
"I am happy to be at the presentation of this race I love, and I am looking at it with great ambitions," said Duarte. "This year, I managed to find my best condition in the final week only, but in 2014 I am looking to work to be ready for the start, and possibly compete for the GC.
"I hope RCS Sport will entrust us once again, after we did well to reward their confidence in 2013 Giro."