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First Maglia Rosa up for grabs in Turin. Watch out for Dente di San Vito…

22/04/2024

The Giro d’Italia 2024 will feature a crackling, selective and tough kick-off, the likes of which has not been seen in years. During the Grande Partenza presentation, great emphasis was put on the opening stage – which will take the riders from Venaria Reale, Turin’s most enchanting suburbs, to Corso Casale, in the heart of the city, for a total of 140 km – due to its surprisingly demanding route with 1,450 metres of elevation gain. The riders will in fact tackle three climbs, the Pilonetto towards the Basilica of Superga (commemorating 75 years since the tragedy of the “Grande Torino” football team), the Colle Maddalena (6.1 km at 7.4%) on the outskirts of Turin, just 22 km from the finish, and the Dente di San Vito, with just 3.5 km to go.

This year’s Giro could therefore provide us with some serious GC developments right from the get-go. The Dente di San Vito climb is especially unpredictable, due to its proximity to the finish line. With the riders already launched into Corso Casale, a small but decisive detour will be made to this short ascent, about 1500 metres long and with gradient peaks of 10-11%, certainly the springboard to victory. Regardless of how many riders will be leading the race at the start of this final climb, the first Maglia Rosa of the 2024 edition of the Giro d’Italia will inevitably have to be among the very first to reach the summit.

The link between Corsa Rosa arrivals and the city of Turin is an old and fascinating one. Just think of the first time the city welcomed the event, back in 1909: the local Questore (Italian police superintendent) was unable to guarantee the safety of an overflowing crowd, estimated at 40-50 thousand people, and the organisers decided to secretly move the arrival to the nearby town of Beinasco, and then stage a “fake” arrival in Turin. The Gazzetta dello Sport, in its chronicle of the stage, spoke of “polite deception“.

And two years later, in 1911, the Turin stage featured the first ever climb above 2000 metres, the Sestriere, in a stage that saw Lucien Petit-Breton emerge victorious after 302 km and 11 hours of racing. 110 years later, in 2021, marking the 160th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, the Piedmontese Filippo Ganna flew at an average speed of 58.748 km/h in the inaugural time trial in Turin, while the following year, the Santena-Turin stage with the Superga circuit turned out to be one of the most entertaining of the last edition. In short, Turin is fun guaranteed!

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