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The final showdown of the day over the Passo Giau. Watch the gc boys treat this like a summit finish – any amount of daylight over the top will come in handy on the almost 16km descent to Cortina. The climb runs 9.9km at a pretty steady grade of 9.3%. By now the relentless series of climbs and descents will have thinned the front group, and I’d expect to see all the heads of state and their elite grimpeurs amassing for a good battle.

The area immediately after the start line is full of the vehicles that are necessary to make a big race like the Giro run as smoothly as it does.

Campagnolo EPS in detail: Uploaded by roadcc on Nov 19, 2011 Head engineer Flavio Cracco talks us round Campag's new electronic groupset

Uploaded by tourdownunder on Jan 17, 2012 Interview with Jens Voigt before Stage 1, 2012 Santos Tour Down Under.

Pippo Pozzato first test of MCipollini RB1000 - | – Filippo "Pippo" Pozzato tests on the road of the Farnese Vini Selle Italia winter camp his brand new MCipollini RB1000

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Tour de France Start List (Provisional) 99th edition of the race runs from June 30 to July 22.

Rolling A day of climbing, even without what would be one of the key climbs, brought some enthusiasm to be I the breakaway and maybe get a head start on the GC men at at the foot of the Zoncolan.

And The Heavens Opened Up As the top five riders of the stage crossed the line, the thunderstorm that had been threatening all day, finally arrived and in the space of a few short minutes, the rain turned to hail and it seemed everyone up there had the same idea: Get off the mountain. For the riders, the first job was to get up the hill and with the rest of the group now needing to complete the final kilometres of the climb under an icy rain, it was not going to be a nice way to end a…