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Counting Down to Giro

I’m currently up to my eyebrows in Giro stage previews. The first nine stages should pop up over at steephill.tv soon. Hopefully, the next twelve will come out of my brain soon, too. Ah, yes, this is why we have espresso. And chocolate.

The first week of this Giro is difficult, with the mountains coming already on stage 4. Team time trial, two sprint stages, then… Bam! Mountains! From stage 4, which marks the first mountain top finish of the race, until stage 8, which finishes in the Città alta of Bergamo, this Giro passes through difficult terrain. It’s all about mountains in Northern Italy, and this Giro throws in a bit of Austria and Switzerland for good measure.

For the teams interested in the maglia rosa, this race may prove very difficult for them to control. The early mountain stages impose a constant weighing of alternatives, of calculating effort versus return. There exist plenty of roads in these stages for the wrong breakaway to slip up the road, or an opportunist general classification rider to pick off a minute or two of advantage. Certainly, this Giro will favor the strong teams, but maybe more than that, it will reward the tactically astute. A very difficult race to control, indeed.

How about a little vocabulary to help us get good and ready? Today’s word: Tranquilo. Tranquilo is the multi-tool of Italian bike racing words. Before the race, after the race, in the midst of a raging doping scandal, Tranquilo has you covered. You can take it home, introduce it to your mom. Dress it up with some tasteful jewelry and it’s ready for an evening out. Put some fenders on it, and Tranquilo will get you to work in the rain without that nasty muddy stripe on your pants. (Yes, we are among the believers when it comes to fenders here In The Laughing Group.) From knee-high to double-overhead, Tranquilo is your magic stick.

What? You mean, you actually want to know what it means?
Tranquilo adj. Calm, serene, relaxed, contented. Synonyms: Contento, Sereno.

Looking foward to today’s stage? Io sono tranquilo. Not looking forward to today’s stage, but don’t want to admit it? Io sono tranquilo. Wish the interviewers would get out of your face? Io sono tranquilo.

Just finished the stage and got worked? Io sono tranquilo. Won the stage? Still, tranquilo, though you might wish to add a touch more enthusiasm. Like say, felice. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Today is all about tranquilo. Finished in the field? Definitely tranquilo.

Warning! Italian is one of those pesky gendered languages. So, if you are of the Girl persuasion, you can never be tranquilo. I know this news comes as a crushing disappointment. But don’t be sad! For you can be tranquila, which is way better in every possible way. Sugar, spice, and everything nice.

Have a tranquilo weekend!

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