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2017 Giro d'Italia: Stage-by-stage Analysis

Page 8 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Re:

Valv.Piti said:
Stelvio from Prato is often described as the hardest climb in cycling, at least by some, but where does the Stelvio from Santa Maria I'm Müstair rank, the final climb on stage 16 cut short of the remaining 3 kilometres? Same altitude at 16,4 km @ 8,4% is really no joke either. Obviously the Rettenbachferner is tougher than that, but really not by that much and Stelvio from Prato early slopes aren't that demanding.
Aside that I don't think anybody describes the Stelvio as the hardest climb in cycling anymore (maybe it was until the '80s), the side from Prato ends with 14 km at 8.5% (from Trafoi), basically the same gradient as the Swiss side, with 2.5 km less, but to which you have to add the 10 km at 6% (from Prato to Trafoi) at the bottom.
In my opinion 10 km at 6% >> 2.5 km at 8.5%, so the Prato side is definitely harder. Obviously that doesn't mean the Swiss side is easy by any means...
 
Valv.Piti, you have a problem differentiating hardness of climbs. You are putting too much emphasis on the gradient. Length is crucial even if not that steep. That's why Stelvio, Madeleine, PSM, Ventoux are very defying and IHO and sometimes considered harder than the counterparts depending on where you put them.

I forgot another one, Agnello.
 
Re:

Escarabajo said:
Valv.Piti, you have a problem differentiating hardness of climbs. You are putting too much emphasis on the gradient. Length is crucial even if not that steep. That's why Stelvio, Madeleine, PSM, Ventoux are very defying and IHO and sometimes considered harder than the counterparts depending on where you put them.

I forgot another one, Agnello.
Didn't I just say Stelvio from Prato possibly was harder than the super-steep climbs like Zoncolan and Mortirolo, lol? I don't really know why you are saying this, it seems a bit out of context considering what I posted.

Eshnar: Yup, and then you add 3 kilometres more and its definitely harder
 
Re: Re:

Valv.Piti said:
Escarabajo said:
Valv.Piti, you have a problem differentiating hardness of climbs. You are putting too much emphasis on the gradient. Length is crucial even if not that steep. That's why Stelvio, Madeleine, PSM, Ventoux are very defying and IHO and sometimes considered harder than the counterparts depending on where you put them.

I forgot another one, Agnello.
Didn't I just say Stelvio from Prato possibly was harder than the super-steep climbs like Zoncolan and Mortirolo, lol? I don't really know why you are saying this, it seems a bit out of context considering what I posted.

Eshnar: Yup, and then you add 3 kilometres more and its definitely harder
Ooops Sorry. I misunderstood you then.
 
Re: Re:

Escarabajo said:
Valv.Piti said:
Escarabajo said:
Valv.Piti, you have a problem differentiating hardness of climbs. You are putting too much emphasis on the gradient. Length is crucial even if not that steep. That's why Stelvio, Madeleine, PSM, Ventoux are very defying and IHO and sometimes considered harder than the counterparts depending on where you put them.

I forgot another one, Agnello.
Didn't I just say Stelvio from Prato possibly was harder than the super-steep climbs like Zoncolan and Mortirolo, lol? I don't really know why you are saying this, it seems a bit out of context considering what I posted.

Eshnar: Yup, and then you add 3 kilometres more and its definitely harder
Ooops Sorry. I misunderstood you then.

No problem!

But it would be interesting to see how more knowledgeable people than me would rank these climbs against each other, Im quite fascinated by these Italian climbs..
 
With respect to the discussion about the difficulty of the climbs.

I've ridden the Stelvio from every 3 sides, I've ridden the northern approach of Gavia, the Val Martello, Timmelsjoch (Rombo) and Rettenbachferner. I've ridden lots of other climbs but just to stay in this region.

Stelvio (especially as they only go until 2500m) from Mustair is definitely the easiest side. Why? As soon as they reach Mustair it's actually quite steady. You find your rhythm easily. Very nasty is the slightly uphill section from Prad (Prato) to Mustair. There you very often face headwind. Without a proper team you are going to lose minutes. And this is why I think that Dumoulin never has a chance to win this Giro. Quintana will drop him on the ascent of the Stelvio and Dumoulin will never has a chance to claw back time afterwards. His team is just to weak. Without a team you simply die in this section.

What obviously will make the last climb of that stage very demanding are the ascents of Mortirolo and Stelvio beforehand. With a lot of fatigue the Umbrail is a killer. Then, it just doesn't matter that there are no really steep ramps.

The northern ascent from Prato obviously is the hardest approach to the summit. But nevertheless it's not too hard if you ride it alone with no proper climbs beforehand. There are just so many hairpins that you never hit a very steep section. Of course, you need an incredible endurance. But actually, you can find a rhythm. You should not underestimate the southern approach from Bormio. It's a little bit shorter and a little bit flatter. But I did not feel lot of a difference pertaining the difficulty.

All of those climbs are not comparable to Rettenbachferner. That's just a beast. Ride it and you feel it. Stilfser Joch (Stelvio) is nowhere as hard as the giant (highest paved street of the Alps) of the Alps. A stage with Jaufenpass (Passo Giovo), Timmelsjoch (Passo Rombo), a final uphill finish to Rettenbachferner and maybe Penser Joch (Pennes) as the first climb would be a dream. That's a killer and would be one of the hardest stages that we have ever seen in cycling. Time gaps would be insane. The approach with Kühtai (I've ridden it as well) that was ridden some years ago at the Deutschland Tour is hard but nowhere as had as my proposal here.

But gradient alone does not necessarily translate into time gaps. Sometimes very steep climbs produce relatively little time gaps even though everyone arrives on his own. Rather, flatter climbs might produce bigger time gaps, even though small groups arrive together. In this respect Umbrail (Stelvio) may produce bigger gaps by far, just because it's relatively long and comes at the end of a hard stage. Then length is more important than gradients in order to produce time gaps even though the riders feel more miserable at the steeper climbs as Zoncolan.

The hardest climb I've done is not suited for road races unfortunately. 14,9km with an average of 10,8% and heavy gravel. Stelvio is nothing against it. If you need a challenge. Go there. Switzerland is awaiting you.

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