Giro d’Italia

The Giro (the Tour of Italy) begins this weekend, with what appears to be the toughest parcours in several years. There will be several interesting story lines to follow:

* CSC’s Ivan Basso will be attempting to win both the Giro and the Tour de France, a double that has not been achieved in the last decade.
* Discovery’s Paolo Savodelli will be trying to defend Maglia rosa from last year’s victory.
* Jan Ullrich will ride as a “tune-up” for the Tour. Ullrich is horribly out of shape thanks to an early season knee injury, and he’ll be lucky to reach the finish, at least on his bicycle.

Though I’d like to see Savodelli repeat, I’d rather see Basso score the double, especially in what has become an era of specialization.

In anticipation of the race, I found this interview with 1988 winner Andy Hampsten (the only American to win the event), recounting his key attack on the Gavia. Even if you’re not a cyclist, the interview is worth a read–the conditions were horrific, with sub-zero temperatures and snow.