We finally made it !!!
Eshnar said:Stage 12: Cuneo - Pinerolo 158 km
Thursday, May 23rd
START TIME: 13.10 CEST
FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST
The mountains finally start, and they do with none other than a celebration of the most famous stage in Giro history, Coppi's greatest feat, the mythical Cuneo - Pinerolo 1949, with its 250+ km through the Maddalena, Vars, Izoard, Montgenevre and Sestriere... except the "celebration" is nothing more than the starting and finishing towns. The route between them could not be more different than the one of the stage they are supposed to celebrate. The stage starts as very easy, with a short uncategorized climb to Colletta di Rossana (2km at 4.5%), and then rolling terrain with some small ramps towards the uncategorized climb of Colletta di Paesana. Its descent bring on a completely flat section that leads to Pinerolo. On the way, in the town of Cavour, the road connects with the final km of the stage itself: 12 km of flat to reach Pinerolo and the last difficulty of the day, the cobbled wall of San Maurizio (500m at 13.2%), which tops at exactly 2 km to go. As the stage is not over yet, the peloton will turn back south and leave the town towards the first, proper mountain of this Giro, coming after 15 km of rolling terrain. Montoso (GPM1, 8.8 km at 9.5%) has never been ridden in the Giro and we were all wondering why. It is by far the biggest challenge the riders had to face up to now, featuring 6 km consistently over 10%. The road is very narrow, and that is likely the reason why they climb this side and descend the other one, much wider but farther away from the finish (the two sides have amazingly similar numbers). Just for your information, this is not even the whole climb, as the road keeps going up for 5.5 km more (with much more irregular slopes) to Rucas. Unfortunately, there is only one road to get there, so it cannot be used as a pass and the peloton will have to stop at Montoso. The top is at 32 km to go, the first 10 being a wide but technical (and steep) descent to Bagnolo, where the road will become pan flat. Here the riders will reach Cavour again and repeat the same route they made earlier. From Bagnolo to the wall there are 19 km an flat and straight roads... granted, Coppi would have smashed it, but the riders of today might be worried about the upcoming stages.
Montoso, GPM1, 8.8 km at 9.5%
Jokes are over. Finally the first GPM1 of the edition, and it's a new one. Not very long but really steep.
What to expect:
I expect a big selection in the peloton, maybe down to 10 riders (or less if a real contender decides to set the pace), but it will probably come together in or after the descent, with maybe someone off the radar getting away on the flat and winning. The cobbled wall in Pinerolo might dish some decent time gaps between the favourites.
Cuneo - Pinerolo, 10 June 1949. "Un uomo solo al comando"