55° Giro Ciclístico Internazionale della Valle d’Aosta – Mont Blanc
From 11 to 15 July
Few races in the world of cycling have a’proloescalada’ as their calling card, a concept that has been little explored in itself, but the Giro al Valle d’Aosta is certainly one of those chosen and with this proposal, on French soil, its next edition will start on Wednesday the 10th. The Giro d’Aosta Valley is a race hardly comparable to any other. And with it comes the second great sporting challenge of the course for the continental Polartec-Kometa, a challenge of substance and enormous harshness in which the mountain has a leading role, predominant.
Miguel Ángel Ballesteros, the Eritrean Awet Habtom, the Dutchman Kevin Inkelaar, Juan Pedro López and the Colombian Wilson Peña, led by Jesús Hernández, will fight copper on the always demanding alpine routes. “All five have been focused on mountain trainings camps at various points. In Eritrea, in Colombia, in the Sierra Nevada, in the Stelvio… They will arrive in good physical condition. Thanks to the first day’s climbing time trial we’ll soon see who our man is for the general classification. Although we will try, as we always do in these high level U23 events, to be protagonists. We will meet the best riders in the category, so we have to go with ambition, looking for stages and looking for a good general. We go without discarding anything, without closing ourselves off to anything, seeking to be protagonists every day,” explains Hernández.
Aosta, which is administratively a special and autonomous territory within Italy, is a sporty mountain hymn. Orthography helps, of course. On five stages, one of which is timed, three of which have a high finish, another could be considered to have a hill finish due to the fact that the climb is almost relentlessly linked to the finish line and, finally, another one has a port near the finish line. On Sunday, the last stage, the 55th edition at the foot of the Cervino will conclude with a stage that marks the last kilometres of the stage of the Giro d’Italia 2018, as well as the penultimate port, the tough St. Pantaleon (although it is faced by the variant of Verrayes).
The Polartec-Kometa, who comes with a five where only Juan Pedro repeats with respect to the Giro d’Italia U23, a race in which the Spaniard had to retire due to a bad run of crashes he suffered in his first race with the continental team, arrives in Aosta with a firm commitment to be the protagonist and seek a partial victory. On more ambitious targets, he’ll rule the race. And this one, very soon given that initial proloescalade, will say who is the’capo’ of the Madrid formation. “I’m really looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to doing it well and I’ve done my best to prepare for it. I want to do well in case I have any opportunity to go to the Tour del Porvenir, which I would like very much,” says Juan Pedro López.
“After having competed last year in Aosta I have very good memories. It is one of the biggest, of the most important and toughest races in the U23 season. I feel good, in a positive mood and I’m going to put everything I have into it. I hope to do well with the team and have a good race. For me personally, the season so far has not gone as well as I had planned and expected. I’m really looking forward to the race,” says Kevin Inkelaar, who is back in the competition at the Transalpine event and finished 12th in 2017.
11 July: Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc – Saint-Nicolas-de-Veroce (7 km ITT).
12 July: Rhêmes-Saint-Georges – Rhêmes-Notre-Dame (158.8 km).
13 July: Tavagnasco-Quassolo (148.6 km).
14 July: Antagnod-Champoluc (160.7 km).
15 July: Valtournenche-Cervinia (109.8 km).
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)