It looks like a sprint finish but, in this image from the 2011 Gran Piemonte, race winner Dani Moreno is celebrating after a late solo breakaway while a desperately chasing Greg Van Avermaet (right) takes second place. In third is Moreno’s teammate Luca Paolini (left), who allowed a gap to open behind Moreno when the Spanish rider accelerated on the descent to the finish.
#PelotonShorts by John Wilcockson/Photo by Yuzuru Sunada
The former Tour of Piedmont (Giro del Piemonte)—which was founded in 1906 and won by such cycling luminaries as Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx and Francesco Moser—was revived in 2009 as the Gran Piemonte. The event is celebrating its 100th edition on Thursday, and with no long climbs it is generally a race for sprinters who can get over a few hills.
This year’s race starts south of Turin and skirts the Piedmont capital to the east before heading northwest to its conclusion in the alpine foothills. The last of the day’s climbs, the 2,000-foot Alice Superiore (5.8 kilometers at 6 percent) comes 28 kilometers from the finish and is followed by rolling terrain in the Canavese plains before an uphill finish (500 meters at 4.2 percent) into the town of Agliè.
The 2016 field is headed by last year’s winner, Jan Bakelandts of AG2R La Mondiale, while others bidding for the win are likely to be two-time Piemonte winner Philippe Gilbert of BMC Racing, Tom Jelte Slagter of Cannondale-Drapac, Zdenek Stybar of Etixx-Quick Step, Daniele Bennati of Tinkoff, Ben Swift of Team Sky and Sonny Cobrelli of Bardiani CSF—the brilliant winner of Tuesday’s Tre Valli Varesine.