are sometimes smooth and silky, and other times tired and tight.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mokum Time (Giro d'Italia Prologue recon)

The wait is nearly over. Amsterdam has made the quick switch from all things orange to all things pink, and on Saturday afternoon the official festivities commence with the opening prologue. Seeing as I've been asked by a few friends from out of town for suggestions on places to watch, as well as my own curiosity about the layout of the course, I went on a little recce the other day. Here's what I saw.

The previous visit of the Giro kicked off at the uninspiring monstrosity that is called the Groninger Museum. This year the organizers continues with their museum theme by choosing Museumplein (home of the currently closed for construction Stedelijk Museum, closed for construction Rijksmuseum, and open to sell posters Van Gogh Museum).

It's a little difficult to figure out where exactly the depart will be situated, but based on the official map, I'd say it starts somewhere around here.

Too bad the Rijksmuseum has been closed for over 7 years. It would have been a beautiful sight, seeing the race go through the building, like city cyclists used to do.

Instead, I assume they will take the bike path.

Which leads directly to Hobbemastraat.

And take a 90 degree left on to Hobbemakade.

+/- 150 meters later, a right turn is made on to Stadhouderskade, which is a stretch of smooth asphalt that lasts for 400 meters.

Then they hit the intersection of Stadhouderskade and Weteringlaan, where they take a left turn.

Most tourists know this corner well, seeing as it's the home of the Heineken Museum.

I've never been. Due to that fact some may call me a philistine, but I think most would call me a discerning beer connoisseur.

The stretch along Weteringlaan is short and curvy, circumnavigating a round about...

Then crossing over some tram tracks, before reaching the bottom of Vijselstraat.

Once the racers hit Vijselstraat it's more or less a clear path of 850 meters, over several bridges, and into the heart of the city.

With the Munttoren in sight, the riders will know that a sweeping right turn on to a narrower, and bumpier road is coming.

Once the turn is made, they're on scenic Amstel.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is one of the busiest areas for spectators - seeing as it's the closest point of the race to Centraal Station.

The bridge that crosses over the road is one of four pedestrian bridges along the course.

This street happens to be the first one I lived on in Amsterdam, so they'll pass my old apartment. Strange that.

This is probably one of the only 'technical' - and that's really pushing it - parts of the course. Amstel is paved with klinkertjes, baksteenen, bricks.

Amstel sweeps along the river it's named after, until you hit the Blauwbrug.

More tram tracks are traversed, and the Amstel is crossed.

Amsterdam elevation.

The descent down Waterlooplein. I doubt there will be time to hit the flea market.

Once Waterlooplein is passed, there's a sweeping right that will briefly take the riders on to Mr. Visserplein, then on to Weesperstraat.

The Dokwerker should get a pretty good view.

Weesperstraat is a long, straight, smooth stretch of road where you can really turn on the gas.

This view alongside this road is probably the most nondescript of the day.

Weesperstraat becomes Wibautstraat once Sarphatistraat, and the bridge immediately after it, is crossed.

Same road. Different name. Just as beautiful.

Finally a right turn is made on to Ruychstraat, where the road narrows.

After 200 meters and a sweeping turn...

It's back over the Amstel, over what is probably the highest point of the course, the Nieuwe Amstelbrug.

After the treacherous descent from the bridge, it's straight going on to Ceintuurbaan, and through the Pijp, for about 1,300 meters.

Eventually the racers find themselves taking a left, back on Hobbemakade, but heading South, out of the city center, this time.

This stretch, which also happens to be one that I find myself on many a ride out of the city, is a short 250 meters.

After that, there's a sweeping right turn on to Stadionweg.

Which then brings the race to the tree lined and bricked paved Apollolaan for the next +/- 1.300 meters.

Apart from the trees and high end real estate, one of the few landmarks on this road is the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel, of Bed In fame.

He may not be racing the Giro this year, but the Boss will be watching.

When you reach the end of Apollolaan, you hit Olympiaplein, which is the 1km to go point.

A few more bricks, and on to Olympiaweg. No time for caution.

A sweeping right, and they're back on to Stadionweg.

From here, the final destination should be in sight.

More tram tracks are crossed.

And the final turn of the day is taken.

Final straight, and you're done.

Two actually.


Rose said...

I love the pictures, what a funny one with Lance watching, thanks for doing the work!

Shaver said...


Michele said...

Nice pics!