With less than 48 hours to the start of an event like the 40th Giro del Trentino Melinda (April 19-22, 2016), pressure and expectations step on every team’s bus, but one line-up in particular is living a quite special approach to the race. For the first time, the Brazilian National Team will participate in the GS Alto Garda race, with riders still unknown to most of the cycling fans, but determined to prove themselves in Trentino. The Team reached Italy on Friday April 15th, and already went on recognition on the opening team time trial’s route.
“Giro del Trentino Melinda is very famous in Brazil,” tells Otavio Bulgarelli, whose last name clearly hails from Italian forefathers, and who raced in Europe for one season in the Farnese Vini ranks – “we know this is the key dress rehearsal for the top Giro d’Italia contenders, so we are very happy of the opportunity to be here and race along the cream of the crop.”
It is a special year for Brazil, that will host the Olympic Games for the first time in history in a few months, and willing to play a major part also in the road cycling event: “The Olympic Games’ route is very demanding, and that’s why Giro del Trentino Melinda looked like the ideal opportunity to compete against some of the rivals we will find in Rio,” young team manager Estela Farah explained.
The team will rely on a six-man block from Brazil’s Pro Continental team Funvic-Sour Cycles, and two youngsters from the UCI World Cycling Center, Andrè Gohr and Caio Godoy. The main name will be Kleber Ramos, stage winner at 2015 Tour de San Luis and seventh in the Rio’s Pre-Olympic race: “We know that European cycling is a different story from the Brazilian, one, where most of the races are suited for sprinters, but the goal of Team Funvic’s project is to make us compete in top cycling so that we can lead the growth of our national movement. It will be a tough challenge, but one we will take in with enthusiasm and determination.”
Brazil won’t be the only National outfit at the start. The Italian National Team will also line-up in Riva del Garda, with a team made of professional and Under 23 riders, managed by Davide Cassani and with Mauro Finetto as captain.
Tomorrow starts the activity at the Casino in Arco, with the preliminary operation and the eve’s press conference (16.00) with the two top favorites, Vincenzo Nibali and Mikel Landa, and Team Sky’s youngster Gianni Moscon. Later on, it will be time for Giessegi Moments, with the past Champions like Roger De Vlaeminck and Willy Debosscher.
On Tuesday at 15.05, the first team will get down the ramp in Riva del Garda to start the opening 12,1 km team time trial effort ending in Torbole.
On Wednesday April 20th, the race will restart from Arco for stage 2, moving across the border to Austria, with an unseen finish in Anras, Tirol after 220 km, the last four of which on a demanding uphill. On Thursday April 21st, Sillian will open the high-mountain 3rd stage, finishing in Mezzolombardo after 204,5 km and two long and tough climbs: Nova Ponente and Fai della Paganella. Completing the programme will the 160,9 km 4th stage from Malè to Cles. The new Forcella di Brez climb was added to the classic Trofeo Melinda circuit: a 6 km ascent almost constantly beyond the 9% gradient, with peaks up to 20%. It will be a very severe test, and one that will keep everybody breathless until the final kilometers of the Giro del Trentino Melinda.