94th Giro d’Italia, Stage 5 map

By: albertocontadornotebook

Apr 24 2011

Category: Uncategorized

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Stage 5, Wednesday, May 11: Piombino – Orvieto, 191 km (medium mountain)

Route (giant image)

Etruscan acropolis, papal home-away-from-home, and finish line of Giro Stage 5, Orvieto was already ancient by the time the Romans captured it in the second century B.C. The Etruscans had settled the hilltop nearly 3,000 years earlier, and made it a political and cultural center, as the many artefacts in the present-day city’s Etruscan museum testify.

The most fascinating thing about this intriguing town — and what makes it a brilliant finish for a bike race — is its situation. Orvieto is built on a volcanic plug, a landform created by magma solidifying in the vent of an active volcano. Magma plugging the vent turns to a stone called tuff, and over time the vent is removed by erosion, leaving a tuff tower.

Orvieto is a tuff town, built from the same material that composes its sheer cliff sides, which makes it seem to sprout from the hilltop. Underneath, successive generations of residents have carved out warrens in the tuff: caves, grottoes, secret passages, escape hatches, columbaria, storehouses, breweries, and mills honeycomb the foundation of the city.

The Giro has not yet made spelunking a part of any parcours, so the riders won’t negotiate a route through the tuff, but rather a route to the top that’s just plain tough. There is a funicular, but it’s just for the fans–no cheating, cyclists.

← Stage 4 ◊ Stage 5 profile →

Contents: IntroRouteStage index Profiles
Week 1 – Stages: 1234567
Week 2 – Stages: 891011121314
Week 3 – Stages: 15161718192021

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