Surprise at Giro del Trentino Melinda: Aru a late scratch

There must be a reason why the Giro del Trentino (this year with new name of Giro del Trentino Melinda) is loved so much by riders, managers, journalists and fans alike. The 2015 edition – which begins tomorrow (Thursday) and goes on until Friday, April 24th – seems to confirm this trend, even before the start flag is dropped. The 16 teams at the start know what lies ahead of them. Those who decide to come here must be ready for everything, or they will endure a tough defeat.

A 13,3 km long team time trial from Riva del Garda to Arco will open the hostilities tomorrow (Team Skystarts as favorite, followed by Astana; first team will leave at 15:15, highlights will be on Italian Raisport 2 from 18:45). Then, three difficult stages to read and to ride – all with important elevation gain – will follow. Riders always come back from Trentino: with the Giro d’Italia right around the corner, for many cyclists their dreams either get to become reality, or die very easily on these roads. This is why they are all fully committed, this is why the Giro del Trentino is renowned for being one of the most spectacular races in the World. Rather short stages, tough medium-altitude mountains, almost no flat land: that’s the winning formula.

Unfortunately, the most anticipated duel between Fabio Aru and Richie Porte will not take place. The Astana Italian rider suffered from stomach issues in the last couple of days, and today he decided – together with the team doctor and management – to skip the race. “In order to make a good Giro d’Italia, taking the start tomorrow would have been ideal, and I am very disappointed to skip such an important race” – Aru stated. “I have been training hard with my teammates for this race, and I will do my best to get back on form soon.

Porte comes from a very strong streak in one-week stage races this year, and backed up by a solid line-up (including Sebastian Henao, Nieve, Konig, Siutsou)  that largely mirrors the one Team Sky will field at the Giro d’Italia. While losing the predicted main rival, the Australian will still need to see off a strong field of opponents: the dangerous Ag2R trio (Bardet, Peraud, Pozzovivo), Canadian former Maglia Rosa Ryder Hesjedal, promising Meintjes and Torres, veterans Pellizotti, Cunego e Paolini, just to name a few.

In order to see how the race will pan out we’ll have to wait a little, until Wednesday, when the enigmaticMonte Velo will make an important selection before the finale in Brentonico. Things aren’t easier on Thursday, when they will tackle Redebus, before advancing to the landscape of Val dei Mocheni and finishing in Fierozzo. The last stage – between Malè and Cles – revives the tradition of the Trofeo Melinda: it might look like the more affordable of the three road stages, but the categorized climbs of Fondo andPasso Predaia could prove the ideal springboard for a last-gasp upset.

The stages of the 39th Giro del Trentino Melinda:

Stage 1 – Tuesday, April 21st: Riva del Garda-Arco 13,3 Km (team time trial)

Stage 2 – Wednesday, April 22nd: Dro-Brentonico 168,2 Km

Stage 3 – Thursday, April 23rd: Ala-Fierozzo 183,8 Km

Stage 4 –  Friday, April 24th: Malè-Cles 161,5 Km