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Reports: 2014 Giro to include Zoncolan and Trieste finish

MILAN (VN) — The Giro d’Italia organizer will present the 2014 route October 7 in Milan but details are already leaking. According to local newspapers, the Italian grand tour, which will run May 10 to June 1, will visit Panarotta (at 1,780 meters) for the first time, will return to the Monte Zoncolan’s steep ramps, and will finish in Trieste.

Earlier this year, organizer RCS Sport confirmed the race would kick off in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It makes its way to Dublin on day 3 before a transfer into the unknown. Racing will continue in Italy on May 13 but the exact location of stage 4 is still a mystery.

Tutto Sport reported in May that the Giro will continue in Bari, in Italy’s deep south, with a team time trial. That format makes sense because the event, which typically starts later in the day, would allow riders more travel time from Ireland.

The final week, however, is making news these days. L’Adige reported yesterday that the Giro d’Italia will climb to the Panarotta refuge in Trentino. The stage will likely be featured in the third week, on May 29, starting in Belluno and climbing the San Pellegrino (1,918m) and Redebus (1,455m) passes. From Levico and out of the Sugana Valley, the road to Panarotta travels 16.2 kilometers and averages 8 percent.

Zoncolan is better known in the cycling family, linked to Angliru and Mortirolo, with Alpe d’Huez as a distant cousin. The 10.1km climb debuted at the Giro d’Italia in 2003. It quickly gained notoriety thanks to its difficulty (11.9 percent average, 22 percent maximum gradient), its natural beauty, and fan turnout.

Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) said in 2010, “It’s not very long, it’s quite steep, it’s unrelenting steepness, and doesn’t let up for seven kilometers.”

In fact, local organizer Enzo Cainero wanted to mimic the Tour de France’s double Alpe d’Huez stage from this year and feature Monte Zoncolan twice in one day. The Messaggero Veneto newspaper reported, however, that the Giro’s technical director Mauro Vegni decided against it last week.

The Monte Zoncolan will still be the 2014 Giro’s big finale, coming on the penultimate day, but its flavor remains unknown. The Giro may climb from Ovaro as usual or, according to the newspaper, it may come from Priola for the first time. From Priola to the east of Monte Zoncolan (1,750m), the road travels only 9km but averages 13 percent and features ramps of 23 percent.

The Giro will reportedly conclude in Trieste the next day for the third time in its history, according to the Messaggero Veneto story. The finish would celebrate the 60th anniversary of the port city returning under Italian control. It would also continue the organizer’s trend of visiting smaller cities and turning its back on Milan, the usual finishing host.

“Milan is in pole position because it’s the Giro’s historic Grande Arrivo,” race director Michele Acquarone said in May. “It has not requested the 2014 finish [so] clearly, we will look to the squares and the streets of smaller cities throughout Italy. The cities that love cycling.”

The Giro has, for the most part, finished in Milan. It ventured to other finishing cities 22 times, most recently in 2010 (Verona) and this year in Brescia, where fans turned the city pink. Trieste fans should offer the same warm welcome to the Corsa Rosa.