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Aosta time trial assigning the first Maglia Rosa

31/05/2024

Quite a prestigious start for the Giro Next Gen 2024, which will kick off from Aosta with an 8.8 km individual time trial starting and finishing in the capital of the Aosta Valley. Due to the geographical layout of the area, a totally flat stage is next to impossible, and in fact, halfway along the route, the riders will climb from Località Grande Charriere to Beauregard (an ascent of around 1200 metres), where the intermediate checkpoint is located. The first Maglia Rosa will thus have to manage his energy well on a short but rather tricky route.

Aosta is regarded as the ‘Little Rome of the Alps’ thanks to the abundance of perfectly preserved Roman buildings, but also because it is surrounded by majestic peaks such as Mont Emilius and Becca di Nona. And for skiing and nature lovers, a futuristic and evocative cable car just a stone’s throw from the centre (the stage will start right here) leads directly to the slopes of Pila.

But we all know that whenever discovering a new city, gastronomy is a fundamental aspect of the overall experience. Valle d’Aosta cuisine is made up of genuine and tasty products with cheese and cured meats as their strong point, including PDO products such as Fontina, Fromadzo, Jambon de Bosses and Lardo di Arnad. Wine lovers can enjoy the fruits of the ‘heroic’ viticulture carried out in the local mountains, with steeply sloping terraced vineyards that require hard work but that, in return, have allowed, especially in recent years, the rediscovery and promotion of highly prized indigenous grape varieties. And then there is grappa, either white, aged in oak barrels, or aromatised with herbs, fruits, honey and spices, and genepì – a refined liqueur produced from a small aromatic plant that grows above 2,000 metres of altitude of the Artemisia genus – an excellent digestive and a true ‘taste of the mountains’.

Cycling is at home in Aosta. The town has hosted the Giro d’Italia several times and, on one occasion, it even served as a stage destination in the Tour de France. It was 1949 and Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali sealed a legendary Italian one-two. Giro d’Italia stage winners in Aosta were Franco Bitossi, Eddy Merckx and Gianni Bugno won. No small riders indeed…

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