Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wines of the Giro Stage 15
From Steephill:
Although, this mountain stage ends in a summit finish like yesterday's Stage 14, Stage 15 is quite different. The climbing is spread over four categorized climbs in the Bergamo Alps that are shorter with steeper average grades. Sunday's climbs also undulate more on narrow, well-worn roads.
Starting from Busto Arsizio, we'll head east through the Lombardia region of Italy past the south ends of Lago di Como and Lago di Lecco. This area has a rich history with cycling and the Giro d'Italia; we'll start south of Varese and finish north of Bergamo and many professional riders live in this region of Italy including Ivan Basso. . . .
Like Stage 14, this stage is backloaded. The first 70 km out of Busto Arsizio are flat, then for the next 100 km there isn't a straight, flat road on the course as the race passes over the four categorized climbs. . . .
Although, Lecco is a host of this finish, the stage finishes with a climb to Piani Resinelli, a small hilltown just north of the city. The climb averages 7.8% over 7.8 km and features 15 switchbacks on a well-paved but narrow road.

And, our morning weather report from twitter:
Andrew Hood ‏@EuroHoody
Cold, wet, miserable; otherwise great day for racing if you’re from BC or Belgium; good for Ryder to defend
Also a few more riders either dnf (did not finish) or dns (did not start) including Schleck (a surprise), and Visconti.  
Today's morning breakaway report:
giroditalia 6:07am via Web
Recap: Rabottini > Bonnafond 1'30'' > Ulissi, Malori, Petrov, Pinotti, Pirazzi, Txurruka, Losada, Bruseghin, Carrar, Sella 5'25'' > Bunch 6'

Live video suffers from rain on the cameras, but through the blur there was lots of rain gear and many mini breaks. Eurosport suggested that the bad weather combined with poor road conditions for the last 100 km could cause problems ahead. "A filthy, foul day." Many riders went up the road to join the chasers, including Cunego and with 60 km remaining he was the virtual maglia rosa on the road. At that point, the chase with Cunego was 5’20" back from Rabbotini with the main peloton 9’40" behind.
With 27 km left, the foggy status seemed to be Rabbotini still at the front of the stage, a group of chasers 4 minutes back ad then the peloton at 7 minutes behind.
The descent lived up to Eurosport's prediction as Rabbotini went down, though was back up quickly. With 15 km to go, Rabbotini had 2:18 over the Cunego chasing group, with the peloton at 5.58 and gaps dropping rapidly. Indeed, with 3 km left he had only 1:23 over the chasing group, now minus Cunego. I had my fingers crossed that he would make it.
Meanwhile, behind, the attacks started in the favorites group. Joaquim Rodriguez simply took off, eventually catching Rabbotini and it looked like he would take both the stage and pink. But Rabbotini rallied and came around for the win, whether it was a gift or not is a question, but well deserved either way.  Behind, the favorites came in gradually, with changes to the GC. The grupetto finally made it in at 34:48 behind the day's winner. Tomorrow, they rest!

 Stage: Matteo Rabbotini
Pink: Joaquim Rodriguez
  1. Rodriguez
  2. Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin, at 0.30
  3. Basso, at 1.22
  4. Paolo Tiralongo, Astana, at 1.26
  5. Kreuziger, at 1.27

Wine: Castello di Luzzano Bonarda Frizzante - 2010 from Biondivino
From the importer
Region: Lombardia
Grapes: 100% Croatina 
Altitude: 690 ft
Soil: clay and marl  
Total production (btls): 24,000

Vinification: The grapes are crushed and destemmed before fermentation, which sees frequent remontage. A short secondary refermentation in pressure tanks to give the characteristic light sparkle precedes bottling at the beginning of March.
Ageing: In stainless steel for six months. 
I say: A sparkling red wine that reminds me of a sparkling red vinho verde that exploded on us in Portugal. An unusual combo of the frizzante and deep red, dry flavors that made for a great pizza wine. Also, a truly gorgeous label. 

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