Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wines of the Giro Stage 5: Gricos Aglianico and Degenkolb
Cosenza to Matera, 203km
 From the Garibaldi:
A very fast stage. Two GPMs on the race route, but on climbs that are not at all difficult. Stage starts with a shallow, continuous descent as far as Mongrassano where it rises to GPM of Cipolletto. The next 120 km are more or less straight (mostly along the coast of the Ionian Sea) on moderately wide roads as far as the short, abrupt Montescaglioso climb (wide road). Short descent then false flat uphill to the stage finish at Matera.

Last kms descending slightly from -3 km to the final km, through wide urban avenues with some slight curves. Two left-hand curves either side of the flamme rouge lead to the final straight, 800 m, all slightly uphill (width 7.5 m, surfaced with asphalt).

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, as I woke to word of torrential rains at the finish of the day's stage. Indeed, the pictures confirm this. Meanwhile, the riders have started the day on dry roads. The break of the day formed early with Tomas Gil (Androni Venezuela), Alan Marangoni (Cannondale), Ricardo Mestre (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Brian Bulgac (Lotto Belisol), Rafael Andriato (Vini Fantini Selle Italia). 

TeamSky 6:17am via Web
80km to go an GreenEdge and Quick-Step are leading the peloton for their sprinters. The break's gap has fallen to 6:25 now. #giro
I particularly enjoyed this update from the Guardian in the UK: 2:32 pm: It's quite windy out on the road now and with 66km to go, a lot of the riders have put on sleeveless gillets to keep their chests warm. Men putting on coats - that's what we're reduced to reporting here, on this slow sporting news day in which nothing much has happened, especially in the world of football. That's gillets, by the way, as opposed to gillies. Although it would certainly spice up the afternoon's cycling entertainment if the riders were forced to carry shotgun-toting Scottish hunting guides on the back of their bikes.

With 60 km to go, the gap was at 5:50, with the peloton was in the rain and the break in the sun. Conventional widsom, by the way,is that on a flat stage like this, it takes a the peloton traveling at full speed 10 kilometres to knock one minute out of a breakaway group traveling at full speed. By 50 km remaining the gap had already dropped to 4:30, though the climb and pouring rain ahead may interfere with the usual timing of the catch. The two main questions are: will the break be caught and will the sprinters make it over the final climb?
From twitter:
nyvelocity 6:54am via TweetDeck
Riders are busy gathering two of every sort of animal for today's Giro finish.

40 km to go and the gap was under 3 minutes. By 30 km to go, the gap was at about two minutes The good news from ahead was that it had stopped raining at the finish.
  opqscyclingteam 7:24am via TweetDeck
Approaching Cat 4 climb to Montescaglioso. (Roughly 4km, averages 6.3% ramps of 9%) 29km to go, gap 1'21". #OPQS letting others chase. #Giro
22.4km to go, Movistar, Garmin-Sharp, Sky riders on the front as the break is caught. #Giro

Up next was the 4 km climb. With 20 km to go, lots of footage of Mark Cavendish weaving up the hill, making me miss Bernie Eisel and wonder if there will be Breakfast with Bernie again at the Tour de France this year. Of course, Eisel and Cav are no longer teammates, Eisel having stayed at Sky when Cav transferred to Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
Behind, it was not looking good for the Cavendish group.
  inrng 7:58am via Web
Cavendish's group is 45 seconds behind with 6.3km to go

Cav's group, it appears, has given up and is no longer attempting to catch the peloton. With about 5 kilometers to go, there are 80 or so riders in the front group, including all of the race favorites. 
Crash! A few riders made it through the corner but most of the peloton was blocked or delayed. Ahead, John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) took the stage win.
It wasn't a sprint, Degenkolb rode final kilometre by himself after the crash. Crash was caused by riding slipping on white paint on corner
Degenkolb avoids crashing teammate, shuts down the solo flyer, leads self out and wins, no biggie.

  • 1. Luca PAOLINI, Katusha 
  • 2. Rigoberto URAN URAN, Sky, at :17
  • 3. Benat INTXAUSTI ELORRIAGA, Movistar, at :26
  • 4. Vincenzo NIBALI, Astana, at :31
  • 5. Ryder HESJEDAL, Garmin-Sharp, at :34
  • 6. Bradley WIGGINS, Sky, at :34
  • 7. Giampaolo CARUSO, Katusha, at :36
  • 8. Sergio Luis HENAO MONTOYA, Sky, at :37
  • 9. Mauro SANTAMBROGIO, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, at :39
  • 10. Cadel EVANS, BMC Racing, at :42

Gricos Aglianico Del Vulture 2008
From the importer:
Aglianico is the best known 'big red' grape in southern Italy, and there are two places where it grows particularly well, Taurasi in Campania and Monte Vulture in Basilicata. The areas are less than two hours from each other, both are volcanic in geology, and both produce magnificent red wines, amongst the most ageworthy in Italy (or anywhere else, for that matter). Grifalco is an excellent producer of Aglianico del Vulture owned by the Piccin family, who were originally wine producers in Tuscany but decided that southern Italy, Basilicata in particular, was more promising. I think they're right. Gricos is their everyday barbeque wine, made from young vines but nonetheless meaty and substantial. 

Aglianico del Vulture ‘Gricos’  
  • 100% Aglianico estate-grown in four different vineyards in the Vulture area (vine age: 15 yrs) 
  • Vinified in a forward, drinkable style but still an ample, very flavorful red wine with a deep plummy color  
  • Aged in large barrels for 12 months  
  • Production: 2500 cases 
  • Drink with beef, lamb, cheeses or substantial pasta dishes
I say: Balsamic, herbs,very dark fruit. Firm tannins on the finish. Without food I was not thrilled, but served with a meatloaf made with beef and Italian sausage, it really came alive. 

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