2019 Giro d'Italia, Stage-by-Stage Analysis

It is that time of the year again. The time of the greatest race of all. As tradition dictates, here is my 7th stage-by-stage analysis!
The 102nd Giro d'Italia route can be clearly divided in two halves. The first one features two ITT and a bunch of flat or medium mountain stages that, while they don't offer any concrete chance for an early GC shake up (except the ITTs obviously), they should wear the riders off and set the stage for the second half. From stage 12 onward, it is one of the best designed halves of any Giro I remember, with the best set of mountain stages in recent years. It is an edition full of very long stages, that goes beyond the UCI limit of 3500 km even though it has three ITTs, all of them quite short. There are, in fact, nine stages over 200 km, with eight of them going over 220 km (and four of them over 230 km). On the other hand, only five stages (besides the ITTs) are shorter than 180 km. It's a Giro without too many high mountain stages (officially five, but in reality they are only four), but those that are there are all really hard. Speaking of mountains, I know I complain about it pretty much every year, but the GPM categorization is even more appalling than ever. There are climbs that could easily be GPM2 that are left uncategorized, only because (my guess) they are at the beginning of the stage and RCS wants a GC contender to wear the jersey. And speaking of GC contenders, this Giro is going to get the best participation in recent times, so we are definitely going to have fun this May.







 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 1: Bologna - Madonna di San Luca 8 km ITT

Saturday, May 11th

START TIME: 16.50 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~20.00 CEST





Technical Overview:
The 2019 Giro d'Italia starts in Bologna, with a very interesting prologue. The last time the Giro started here was 25 years ago, and in 1994 the first stage was in fact a split stage, with one short road stage around the city and one flat prologue after it. Split stages are not allowed in GTs anymore, so this year we get only the prologue part. The route of it, however, is very different from the 1994 one, and far from being flat. Starting from the very centre of Bologna, the riders will go through straight and wide roads towards the hills just outside town. At 2.1 km to go, a sharp turn to the right will bring them into one of the most iconic hills in all Italian cycling. The road to the sanctuary of Madonna di San Luca (GPM3, 2.1 km at 9.7%) is famous as the highlight of the Giro dell'Emilia, as well as a common feature in the Giro d'italia itself (being also the finish of the last Giro stage that was held in Bologna, in 2009). The climb is easily recognizable by the long colonnade intertwining with the road, that leads pilgrims up the hill all the way to the sanctuary on top. For those of you who are new to cycling and never watched the Giro dell'Emilia, you will notice the climb is much harder than the average numbers suggest. It is very irregular and hides some really hard ramps, with a 16% max gradient around halfway. Pacing here will be a key issue and will likely determine the winner.



The Climbs:
Madonna di San Luca, GPM3, 2.1 km at 9.7%
The mythical final climb of the Giro dell'Emilia. Used multiple times in the Giro too, the last time they raced here we saw a future GT dominator doing zig-zags...



What to expect:
Really tough to call. We are talking about a ~12' effort split almost exactly between a flat and an uphill section. As I said, pacing in the climb will be crucial, so I think TT specialists (among the GC riders) will have an edge there. All the GC candidates will likely fill the top spots, as this stage is perfect for them. However, who comes short of form thinking about the second half of the Giro will likely lose a lot of time. Almost surely, the first Maglia Rosa of this Giro will be a serious pretender to the final victory.


The famous colonnade of Madonna di San Luca
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 2: Bologna - Fucecchio 205 km

Sunday, May 12th

START TIME: 12.10 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST





Technical Overview:
The first road stage of this edition starts from Bologna and heads south into Tuscany. It is a hilly stage with some potential, although it could have been much better and it seems clear the organisers did not want to go for it, perhaps considering yesterday was already an important stage. The route is pretty straightforward in the first part: always heading south and picking the easiest way to cross the Appennines, the uncategorized climb to La Serra (14 km at 3.2%). The road then will keep heading south, passing near Firenze and approaching Empoli, which is where things finally heat up. The main climb of the day, and possibly the decisive point, is the GPM of Montalbano, also known as Il Castra (GPM3, 5.8 km at 6.8%). It is no joke, especially considering this is only stage 2, with a central part of 4.5 km at 7.7%. Its descent is very technical and connects with the final categorized climb of the day, the San Baronto (GPM4, 11.3 km at 2.4%), which unfortunately is just a long false flat on this side. It is a bit of the shame, because the route could have easily included the San Baronto from its tougher side (the one they are descending instead), and the overall design would have benefited greatly from it. As I said, it looks like the organizers did not want too much from this stage. Or maybe they wanted to make this an "appetizer" for the hard climb -> easy climb pattern that we are gonna have in the bigger mountain stages. After the descent of San Baronto the profile looks mostly flat, but there are still some small ramps here and there, in particular the one to Cerreto Guidi starts with 1 km at 5-6%, before easing off and topping at 14 km to go.



The Climbs:
Montalbano (Il Castra), GPM3, 5.8 km at 6.8%
A pretty good climb for a stage 2, but a bit too far from the finish. Its central section might do some damage and many riders are definitely going to drop, but some of them might come back.



San Baronto, GPM4, 11.3 km at 2.4%
Usually the decisive climb of GP Larciano (from another side), from this side is really easy.



What to expect:
With the pink jersey being presumably on somebody who might not want to keep it right now, I expect a big breakaway forming on the first GPM. The Castra is, I think, too hard for sprinters to survive, so I'm pretty sure they will not bother. A few attackers might try something there, unless a team is pulling the peloton because they have a reduced bunch sprint specialist (someone in rainbow jersey comes to mind). So, either the breakaway gets it with a sizeable advantage, or a 50ish men sprint.


Fucecchio
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 3: Vinci - Orbetello 220 km

Monday, May 13th

START TIME: 12.10 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
The first Monday of the race offers the first clear chance for a mass sprint... maybe. Starting from Vinci, a town famous worldwide for being the birthplace of one of the Ninja Turtles, the riders will head towards the sea, through quite a long route with only a few difficulties along the way. The first one is also the toughest: the uncategorized climb to Poggio all'Aglione (6.8 km at 5.4%) will be the perfect spot for the formation of a good breakaway. The descent of this climb is followed by 45 km of little note, before a small climb, Cantoniera di Montebello (roughly 2.5 km at 5%). This climb opens the way to 80 km of rolling terrain that should not present any particular challenge for the peloton, that will just focus on calculating how high they can let the gap to the breakaway go. The final climb, which is also the only GPM of the day, is Poggio l'Apparita (GPM4, 3.8 km at 4.9%) marks the beginning of the final sector of this stage, which might still be hiding a trap for the riders: the finishing town of Orbetello is on a lagoon, and the last 20 km of the stage run all around it. This is perhaps the only stage of this Giro where crosswinds are a concrete possibility, since these final km feature only long straights along or in the middle of the lagoon, with the highlight of the final stretch being on a 1 km long, fully exposed bridge between two bodies of water. As long as there is any wind at all, it's going to affect the race.



The Climbs:
Poggio l'Apparita , GPM4, 3.8 km at 4.9%
No profile provided. Nothing much to note.

What to expect:
A sprint surely, but crosswinds (or lack thereof) will determine how big the leading group will be. Only the final 20 kms are good for crosswinds, so I don't expect huge gaps anyway.


This bridge will be the final km of the race. The finish is just inside the town
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 4: Orbetello - Frascati 235 km

Tuesday, May 14th

START TIME: 11.15 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST





Technical Overview:
The fourth stage of this Giro brings the riders further south, in a long stage on rolling terrain around Rome. There is only one categorized climb, Manciano (GPM4, 8 km at 3.7%), which is also the first difficulty of the day. It's not a particularly difficult day, but the route is full of false flats and ups and downs. For example, the road after Manciano heads slightly uphill all the way to Poggio Evangelista, an uncategorized climb of 13 km at 3% (with very irregular sections... the average here is misleading). After this, the riders will slowly descend and then slowly climb again, to another uphill drag of 7 km at 3% (again, hiding some good ramps). This kind of roads continue throughout the whole stage, with two more uncategorized climbs, Campagnano di Roma (4 km at 3.5%) and Monterotondo (1.5 km at 6.5%). After these climbs and the last intermediate sprint in Mentana, a short section of flat roads lead to another ascending false flat and then rough terrain all the way to the finishing line in Frascati. This will in fact be an uphill sprint, on a short climb of 2 km at 4.4%, with a maximum gradient of 7% at the beginning and then easing off to a steady 4% at the end.



The Climbs:
Manciano, GPM4, 8 km at 3.7%
No profile again. Does not seem to be much anyway.

What to expect:
An uphill sprint with a somewhat reduced peloton, with maybe a few proper sprinters still in the mix, but with an Ardennes kind of rider having the upper edge. The break of the day also has huge chances to reach the end, if the peloton is not in the mood. This is a very long and tough day, so there might be no teams willing to commit to the chase.


Castel Gandolfo and Lake Albano, a few km from Frascati
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 5: Frascati - Terracina 140 km

Wednesday, May 15th

START TIME: 13.55 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
After the very long stage of yesterday, we get a short a relatively easy stage. You would not tell that by looking at the start though. From Frascati, where they arrived yesterday, the peloton will immediately begin to climb the first hill of the day, the uncategorized climb of Rocca Priora (9.5 km at 4.5%). Its fast descent leads to the second (and hardest) climb of the day, Rocca di Papa (5.5 km at 6.2%), still uncategorized (why???). You might recognize these climbs if you followed the (now defunct) Roma Maxima editions of a few years ago, that featured this two climbs in the finale (although Rocca di Papa was called Campi di Annibale and would top 100m higher). While in that race these climbs were enough to force some selection and decide the group disputing the victory, here they are more than 100 km to go, so they will just decide the break of the day, which nevertheless does have some chances to dispute the victory. After the descent of Rocca di Papa the terrain becomes flat and pretty uninteresting up until the last (...and only, officially) climb of the day, Sezze (GPM4, 3.9 km at 5.2%), which is followed by another small hill of 2.5 km at 4%. Overall, not a tough climb situated about 50 km to go, the last 40 being completely flat all the way to the final circuit (only one lap to be made) in Terracina.



The Climbs:
Sezze, GPM4, 3.9 km at 5.2%
Nope, no profile here either.

What to expect:
Big struggle to form the breakaway at the beginning, which will probably be futile because the peloton should not have big problems catching it in the end.


Terracina
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 6: Cassino - San Giovanni Rotondo 238 km

Thursday, May 16th

START TIME: 11.20 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
Stage 6 is a very long (238 km!) and quite demanding stage, despite not having any particularly hard climb (in fact, it has only one categorized climb, even if it should have more...). From Cassino the riders will head all the way east, crossing the entire peninsula and reaching the other side. The first difficulty of the day arrives at km 11, and it's a small climb of roughly 4.5 km at 4.5%. From there, the road becomes a slightly ascending false flat until it transforms into a proper climb at km 42. This second climb of the day, passing near the town of Isernia, measures 13 km at 3%, and it is very irregular, hiding some proper ramps. After this comes an easy section of flat roads, leading to another climb just before the town of Campobasso, with around 9 km at 3%, again with some decent ramps, this time at the end. From here on, descent and another flat section towards another uncategorized climb, 3 km at 5.5%, before the road gets down again and flattens out. This is by far the easiest section of the day, which ends just at the foot of the only categorized climb, starting at 32.5 km to go: Coppa Casarinelle (GPM2, 15 km at 4.4%) is a long uphill drag, with some good ramps here and there but overall it is second category only because it's close to the finish. The top is at 18 km to go, but it's not the last climb of the day. In fact, after 5 km of descent to reach the town of S. Marco in Lamis the final ramp starts, which looks to be 2.5 km 6% average. From the top there are 10.5 km to go, 5 of which are on an easy and fast descent, while the last 5.5 are mostly flat and run though the roads of S.Giovanni Rotondo, where the finishing line is located.



The Climbs:
Coppa Casarinelle, GPM2, 15 km at 4.4%
Just a long and steady climb.



What to expect:
A decent selection in the peloton, and someone to attack on the final ramp and win it. Or maybe nothing at all, with the break of the day for the win. Depends on who in the peloton is willing to set the pace, and how much.


San Giovanni Rotondo, Sanctuary of Padre Pio
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 7: Vasto - L'Aquila 185 km

Friday, May 17th

START TIME: 12.25 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
The Giro comes back to L'Aquila, 10 years after the tragic earthquake of 2009. The race has already visited L'Aquila the year after it, and the result was a much less tragic earthquake, this time in the GC, as a huge breakaway won with over 10' on the peloton, ravaging the GC and setting up the stage for one of the greatest Giros of this millennium. That stage had 262 km and various climbs... unlike the one of today. Today the route will be very similar only in the final part, while the rest is very different and significantly easier. Starting from the Adriatic sea, in the town of Vasto, the route follows the coast until the town of Ortona, from which it starts heading towards the mountains. However, it avoids most of them. The terrain is not flat, mind you. After an ascending and descending false flat, the small climb of Ripa Teatina leads to the uncategorized climb of Chieti (not the classic wall often used in Tirreno), whose descent brings to an actual flat section of 40 km that connects with the route of the 2010 stage and ends with the one categorized climb of the day, Svolte di Popoli (GPM2, 7.8 km at 6.3%). This is an decent climb, but it is too isolated and far from the finish (46 km to go) to be consequential. It has no descent, as at the top a 22 km long false flat starts, which terminates with a short and fast descent to reach the town of L'Aquila. Here, the final kms will be very interesting (slightly different from 2010, but with the same concept), featuring two consecutive small hills: first the climb of Torrione (3 km at 5%, but with the first 1.5 km at 7,3%), which is just the climb to Acquasanta of 2010 with a 1.5 km added false flat on top, making it twice as long. It tops at 6.5 km to go, and has a very irregular descent. After that, 1 km of false flat leads to the uphill finish (this one is the same as 2010), measuring 1 km at 7.6%.



The Climbs:
Svolte di Popoli, GPM2, 7.8 km at 6.3%
A nice climb with a few demanding ramps.



What to expect:
This should be a very entertaining finale, but with very few seconds up for grabs it's unclear whether GC contenders will go for it seriously.


L'Aquila
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 8: Tortoreto Lido - Pesaro 239 km

Saturday, May 18th

START TIME: 11.15 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
The longest stage of this edition comes on the second Saturday, and it's a very tricky stage that, while it will very likely not have any implications for the GC guys, they should still be wary of. The stage starts on the coast and stays there for almost 140 km, along which there is not much to note, except for the first intermediate sprint in Senigallia. At km 138 there is the short ramp of San Costanzo, 2 km at around 6%, which leads to another flat section and a short descent to the second intermediate sprint, Calcinelli. Here starts the first GPM of the day, which is also the hardest: Monte della Mattera (GPM3, 9.1 km at 3.9%). It is not much, but it does hide some hard ramps (max 14%). Its descent brings to another small climb, Candelara, which measures roughly 2.5 km at 5%. The following descent leads to the outskirts of Pesaro, where the finishing line is, but the stage is not over. The peloton will not enter Pesaro, but turn west to climb the second GPM of the day, Monteluro (GPM4, 6 km at 3%), which starts with a ramp of 1.5 km at 7% and then becomes a false flat. From here on there are basically no proper flat roads. Yet another descent leads to Gabicce Mare, where the riders will enter the roads of Monte San Bartolo, starting with the last GPM, Gabicce Monte (GPM4, 2.2 km at 5.1%). These roads are extremely tricky, full of turns, ramps and descents. They featured recently in the Giro as the first sector of the Saltara ITT in 2013, where Nibali had the best split and Wiggins threw away his bike, and also the year before, on a road stage to Fano. That is a bit more representative: the finishing line there was much further away, but the peloton still was split thanks to some moderate pace set by Liquigas. That day everything came back together, as there were still 13 km of flat to go, but today there will only be 3. The finish is basically in sight, and this is an extremely dangerous situation for a (presumably) almost full peloton. Dangerous in terms of potential splits and, worse, crashes. As I said in the beginning, GC contenders will have to be very attentive here.


The Climbs:
Monte della Mattera, GPM3, 9.1 km at 3.9%
It has some decent ramps, but nothing important. No profile, as the rest of the GPMs of this stage.

Monteluro, GPM4, 6 km at 3%
Starts with 1.5 km at 7%.

Gabicce Monte, GPM4, 2.2 km at 5.1%
Only the first of many little climbs the riders will find on the road of Monte San Bartolo.

What to expect:
Not much on the climbs, but some chaos on Monte S.Bartolo, and almost surely some split in the peloton that might catch GC contenders off guard. Also, very high chance of mass crashes, so all contenders will want to stay in front, which in turn will increase the risk of mass crashes...


Monte San Bartolo
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 9: Riccione - San Marino 34.7 km ITT

Sunday, May 19th

START TIME: 13.15 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
The most important ITT of this edition is not a long one, with less than 35 km, but it is still quite a tough one, and an absolute classic for the Giro. Starting from the Adriatic coast, in Riccione, the riders will have to cross the border for the first and last time this year. The first third of this ITT is completely flat on rural roads, which should not provide any particular challenge to the riders, besides some curvy sections, all the way to the first time split of Ospedaletto (km 11.7). The second third goes along wider and even easier roads which will favour the specialists a lot more, also considering these roads are actually slightly uphill (on average only 1%, but still...), so raw power will be key. This section ends with the second time split, in Faetano (km 22.2, quite evenly spaced with the first one). Before that, at km 19.7, the riders will have crossed the border and entered the micro-state of San Marino (GPM2, 12.2 km at 4.5%), which is regarded by some as the oldest continuous sovereign country in the world, as well as the oldest constitutional republic. The stage ends in its capital, which is famously built on a hill, Monte Titano. In fact, the climb will start immediately after the split in Faetano. It's quite irregular, and can be divided into three sections. The first is probably the toughest part of the stage, with 5.3 km at 6.7%, with some very tough ramps (max 11%). After that, the second section is a 4.7 km long false flat, ascending and descending, and ends at 2.2 km to go. Those final 2.2 km are uphill again, with a 6.4% average gradient to reach the finishing line.



The Climbs:
San Marino, GPM2, 12.2 km at 4.5%
A very irregular climb, with a long false flat before the last ramp.



What to expect:
A key day for the GC. Roughly 50' of effort that should favour the specialists, although the final climb should help climbers to limit their losses.


San Marino
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 10: Ravenna - Modena 147 km

Tuesday, May 21st

START TIME: 13.45 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
The second week starts with the first of two consecutive flat stages of which this is the worst one. From Ravenna to Modena there was definitely room to put a few hills, also considering that tomorrow is also flat, yesterday was a rest day and the stage as it is is only 147 km long. Disappointing. The route itself does not have much to note. Starting from Ravenna the riders will head straight west, passing very near Bologna, where they started 10 days ago. In the last 40 km the route departs from the shortest path between start and finish, making a small detour to visit the villages north of Modena, that were devastated by a flooding in 2014.



What to expect:
Mass sprint.


One of the famous Mosaics in Ravenna
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 11: Carpi - Novi Ligure 206 km

Wednesday, May 22nd

START TIME: 11.55 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
After a pan flat stage along the Po Valley, we get another pan flat stage along the Po Valley. Since this one comes just before four consecutive hilly/mountain stages (six if we don't consider the rest day), I can understand that this stage is easy. The missed chance was yesterday. This stage is also quite long, just because Carpi and Novi Ligure are farther apart than Ravenna and Modena are, so increasing the difficulty of this stage would have meant make it much longer, in an edition that is already overstepping the 3500 km limit. The route is pretty unimaginative, as it makes a long arc following the foot of the Appennines, careful at avoding any possible climb. Maybe it's worth mentioning that the final kms are all slightly uphill (1-2%), so this might change the established pecking order between the sprinters. It's their penultimate chance (the last one for those who are not planning to reach Verona), so they'd better take it.



What to expect:
Another mass sprint.


Carpi
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 12: Cuneo - Pinerolo 146 km

Thursday, May 23rd

START TIME: 13.10 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
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.



The Climbs:
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"
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 13: Pinerolo - Ceresole Reale (Lago Serrù) 196 km

Friday, May 24th

START TIME: 11.30 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
The first MTF of this edition comes quite late, only on stage 13, but it's a big (and high) one. From where they finished yesterday, Pinerolo, the riders will face three really hard categorized climb. At the start, however, they will find a small uncategorized one, Colletta di Cimiana (3.5 km at 7%), which will host the first attacks for the break of the day, which will likely continue on the short descent and the rough terrain that follows, as the mountains approach. At km 35 the first GPM of the day begins: Colle del Lys (GPM1, 14.9 km at 6.4%) is a very tough and constant climb, besides 2 km of false flat in the middle. You might remember the name from last year's stage to Jafferau, as it was climbed from the side we are descending today. That side (today's descent, I mean) is very irregular and quite technical at times. It is followed by some very rough and twisty roads for around 25 km, ending at around km 102. The next 10 km are flat and much more regular, and lead to a short but steep ramp of roughly 2.5 km at 6% that brings to the official start of the second climb of the day. Pian del Lupo (GPM2 (lol), 9.4 km at 8.7%), never featured before in the Giro, is a really hard climb, all on a narrow road with a very steep middle section. Its descent is also narrow and very technical, and brings back to the bottom of a long valley that the riders will have to reach the top of. We head towards another new climb, but unlike Pian del Lupo, this one is very famous between cycling fans: Colle del Nivolet, with all its 2615m of glorious and immaculate scenery, in the middle of the national park of the Gran Paradiso (literally, the Great Heaven). Today we will not climb all the way to the top however, but only up to Lago Serrù (GPM1, 20.3 km at 5.9%), at 2247m of altitude. It's unfortunate... but it's something nevertheless, and hopefully this will pave the way to a finish at the top in the near future. The climb itself begins much before the offical start in the town of Noasca, as the riders will be climbing increasing gradients pretty much from the very beginning of the valley, at 45 km to go. At 30 km to go, the road will start looking more like a climb than a false flat, although on very wide and gentle roads. At 18 km to go the rider will depart from the main road to avoid a long tunnel, and they will climb the old road instead, which has been resurface for the occasion. This is the first steep section of the climb, with 3 km at 8.7%, and ends reconnecting with the main road just before entering the town of Ceresole Reale. Here there is a long false flat section, mostly ascending, that lasts 8.5 km, after which the road gets narrower and the final steep section begins. The final 6 km of this climb are at almost 9%, and combined with the fatigue and the altitude they will likely wreak havoc in the GC.



The Climbs:
Colle del Lys, GPM1, 14.9 km at 6.4%
All in all, a tough climb of a kind the riders have not faced yet in this Giro.



Pian del Lupo, GPM2, 9.4 km at 8.7%
The hardest GPM2 of all time...?



Lago Serrù, GPM1, 20.3 km at 5.9%
A long climb with some very hard ramps at a decent altitude. It finishes at 6 km from the top of the Nivolet (for logistical issues, apparently), which is a bit of a shame.



What to expect:
The first all-out battle between GC contenders, with hard pace all day but without big favourites attacking until the final climb, unless a team goes crazy on Pian del Lupo.


Colle del Nivolet. Lago Serrù is the lake in the background.
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 14: Saint Vincent - Courmayeur 131 km

Saturday, May 25th

START TIME: 13.10 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
The penultimate weekend opens with a short but very hard stage in the Aosta valley, straight after an already very demanding stage. Starting from the town of Saint Vincent, the first climb of the day comes soon, in just 7 km. Verrayes (GPM2, 6.7 km at 8%) is just the first section of the well known Col de Saint Panthaleon, ridden in the last year's Giro. This year they climb it only up to the town of Verrayes, and then get back down to the main valley where they have just come from. After a rather technical descent of 9 km, the peloton hits the easiest part of the stage, a 14 km long stroll on the flat at the bottom of the valley, passing through the town of Aosta itself, after which the road will go up again for the second GPM of the day, Verrogne (GPM1, 13.8 km at 7.1%). Featuring in the Giro for the first time, this climb is quite demanding and irregular, with many steep ramps and easier sections. The descent is 15 km long, very technical and full of hairpins, especially at the bottom, and connects directly with the third climb of the stage, Truc d'Arbe (GPM2, 8.2 km at 7%). Also known as Combes, this climb is like a smaller version of Verrogne, having similar characteristics but being significantly shorter. Another technical descent leads again to the valley, where the riders will keep heading west for 7 km, after which they will take a small detour to the right to climb towards the village of La Salle, 2 km at 8%, just before getting back to the main road and turn left to enter the highlight climb of the day, which will likely decide the outcome. Colle San Carlo (GPM1, 10.5 km at 9.8%) is the second hardest climb of this edition. It is an extremely regular climb, with a gradient always between 9% and 11%, very rarely used in the Giro. The last time they raced here, it was 2006, and before that it was missing since 1973. This year, it tops at 26 km to go. The descent in on wide roads but has a very tricky first section (for reference, you can watch Basso's descent on the wet in 2006, probably the slowest descent of all time), a blistering fast second section and finally a slow final section with lots of hairpins. From the bottom of the descent there are only 8.3 km to go to reach Courmayeur (GPM3, 8 km at 3.2%), but they are quite complicated. After 1 km of false flat, the riders will hit a ramp of 3 km at 6% up to the town of Verrand, and then a 2 km flattish section to Courmayeur. The finish however is not in the middle of the town, but at the Skyway Monte Bianco station, which adds a 3 km of false flat hiding a 1 km ramp at 5% near the end.



The Climbs:
Verrayes, GPM2, 6.7 km at 8%
Less than half of the road to Saint-Panthaleon. Short but quite demanding.



Verrogne, GPM1, 13.8 km at 7.1%
Solid climb, long and with some really tough ramps.



Truc d'Arbe, GPM2, 8.2 km at 7%
Tough climb, with a km of false flat in the middle that lowers its average gradient.


Colle San Carlo, GPM1, 10.5 km at 9.8%
A really steep and regular climb. The last time they raced it, in 2006, we had no live pictures due to horrible weather. Let's hope for something better this year.



Courmayeur, GPM3, 8 km at 3.2%
See the final km profile.

What to expect:
Full-blown carnage on San Carlo and then everyone by himself on the way to Courmayeur. I expect only pace on the previous climbs, as a climb as big as San Carlo will probably prevent the GC contenders to attack anywhere earlier.


Monte Bianco/Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. Courmayeur is at its foot.
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 15: Ivrea - Como 232 km

Sunday, May 26th

START TIME: 11.15 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
After two important mountain stages, stage 15 is another very demanding stage... almost a monument. The route features the main elements of the recent Lombardia editions finishing in Como, with only a few limitations. The first part of this stage is very easy: it starts with a small uncategorized climb to Zimone (4.6 km at 5.1%), which will help creating the break of the day, and then it eases off heading east, becoming a long flat stroll on the Po valley. The first categorized climb only begins at km 164, and it's a famous one: Madonna del Ghisallo (GPM2, 8.6 km at 5.6%), an absolute classic of the Lombardia and Italian cycling in general, hosting the shrine to the patroness of all cyclists. It's a steep climb, whose low average gradient is due to a 3 km long false flat near the top. A very short descent leads to the second GPM of the day, the Colma di Sormano (GPM2, 9.6 km at 6.6%), a very constant climb mostly famous for its Muro, which will not be climbed today, probably due to logistic concerns. Its descent is fast and very technical, and brings to the shores of Lake Como, where the riders will ride 16 km of rolling terrain that does not really favour chasers. After reaching Como itself, only one GPM remains, and it will probably be the decisive one. Civiglio (GPM3, 4.2 km at 9.6%), a recent addition to the Lombardia, is short and very steep, almost always between 9% and 10%. The descent is short but very tricky, and after it the riders will only have to reach the finishing line after the final flat 3.5 km.



The Climbs:
Madonna del Ghisallo, GPM2, 8.6 km at 5.6%
The sacred climb of (Italian) cyclists. It's also a pretty tough one, even if it's short.



Colma di Sormano, GPM2, 9.6 km at 6.6%
Mainly famous for its Muro, the narrow shortcut that connects km 5.1 to the top. Today they are not doing it, and what's left is a rather normal climb.



Civiglio, GPM3, 4.2 km at 9.6%
Short and steep, it has decided the last three Lombardia editions that finished in Como. And it will probably decide this stage, too.



What to expect:
I don't think GC contenders will try anything on Ghisallo or Sormano, but no matter what, Civiglio will decide the stage win and might produce solid gaps among the favourites.


The Sanctuary of Madonna del Ghisallo, patroness of all cyclists.
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 16: Lovere - Ponte di Legno 226 km

Tuesday, May 28th

START TIME: 10.30 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
Undoubtedly, this is the queen stage of this Giro. The stage with the highest altitude gain, with the highest point of the Giro (the Cima Coppi) and with the hardest climb of this edition, all in 226 km, making this also the longest mountain stage. The stage starts from Lovere, on Lake Iseo, where the riders spent the final rest day, and will head into the mountains that will possibly decide the Giro. The road goes uphill from the very start, on a 16 km drag (featuring some decent ramps) that brings the peloton to the town of Rovetta, at the foot of the first climb of the day, that unexplicably is not a GPM. Passo della Presolana (11 km at 5.9%) has never been climbed from this side in the Giro. Here it is longer and less steep than the east side, but it it still a pretty good climb, placed at the beginning of a gruelling stage. After a very short but quite tricky descent, the second (and easiest) climb of the day begins: Croce di Salven (9.1 km at 3.9%) presents a first ramp of 2 km at 8.7%, but then eases off abruptly and becomes a false flat. The descent is 15 km long and extremely fast, on wide roads with only a technical part at the bottom, and it brings back to the valley, roughly at the same altitude of the starting town. Here starts a long false flat, over 30 km, where the peloton is going to breathe and the breakaway will build up a good advantage, before the serious stuff begins. Once the riders reach the town of Edolo, the road will point up again: 9 km at 4% to Vezza d'Oglio, and then a very gentle drag to the finishing line in Ponte di Legno. Unfortunately for the riders, once at the finishing line they will hear the familiar sound of the bell signalling the last lap of the race, which incidentally takes almost exactly half of the stage length, 113 km, and features two of the most iconic climbs in Italy (and in the world). The riders leave Ponte di Legno towards north, heading to the highest point of the Giro, the Cima Coppi. This year it is the mythical Passo Gavia (CC, 16.5 km at 8%), with its 2618 m of altitude. It is a long, tough and narrow road that became world-famous in 1988 after featuring in one of the most famous stages in history, under a huge blizzard. Today it tops at 95 km to go, so it will probably not be the decisive point of the stage, but it should definitely cause some damage in the peloton and a huge fight in the breakaway to get the GPM points. By the time they reach the top, the riders will have been going uphill since no less than 70 km, so legs will surely feel heavy. If we define the start of Gavia all the way from Edolo, we get an impressive climb of 37.8 km at 5.1%... that is some effort indeed. However, it's not even close to being over. From the top of Gavia, a long and technical descent leads the riders to Bormio, where they will start going down the Valtellina valley. It will take about 34 km of descending false flat to reach the town of Mazzo di Valtellina, a town that by now has a place in every cycling fan's heart. Here starts the one climb that is probably the most beloved to Italian cycling fans, despite its relatively recent fame: the Passo del Mortirolo (GPM1, 11.9 km at 10.9%). One of the hardest climbs in professional cycling. Since its debut in the Giro 1990, it decided various editions, and might also decide this one. From the top of the Mortirolo, there are only 27.5 km to go. The first 12 are a narrow and technical descent that brings back to the Valcamonica valley in Monno, where the riders will return to the uphill drag they already rode in the first half of the stage. But this time there will be no peloton, but multiple small groups or isolated riders trying to gain time on each other. Even though this finish in Ponte di Legno (~14 km at 2.5%) is new for the Giro, it is extremely similar to the classic finish of Aprica, so we can assume the outcome will be the same as usual after the Mortirolo. Who topped the climb first will likely have more energy left than those who were dropped, so gaps will grow to minutes by the time they finally reach the finishing line in Ponte di Legno.



The Climbs:
Here I don't know what the hell RCS was thinking when they decided the GPMs. Presolana and Croce di Salven are uncategorized, but the organizers have published their profiles anyway. So I'm also doing the same.

Passo della Presolana, NOT-A-GPM, 11 km at 5.9%
I don't know why they have made a profile of only the last 4 km... Below, the complete profile from Cyclingcols.com.



Croce di Salven, NOT-A-GPM, 9.1 km at 3.9%
I mean, if they really wanted to limit the number of GPMs, it was fine to uncategorize this one. But only this one...



Passo Gavia, CIMA COPPI (2618m), 16.5 km at 8%
The highest point of this edition is also a very famous climb, very long and consistent. Hopefully the weather won't be like in 1988...



Passo del Mortirolo, GPM1, 11.9 km at 10.9%
The hardest climb of this Giro, as well as the hardest climb of any Giro it's been in. It's also one of the most decisive climbs of the Giro history (see below). Out of 13 times, the Maglia Rosa at the end of the Mortirolo stage lost that Giro only once in history.



WINNERS AND LEADERS IN MORTIROLO STAGES
1990 [Edolo] (Aprica) W: Sierra -> MR: Bugno keeps it (and wins the Giro)
1991 [Mazzo] (Aprica) W: Chioccioli -> MR: Chioccioli keeps it (and wins the Giro)
1994 [Mazzo] (Aprica – S.Cristina – Aprica) W: Pantani -> MR: Berzin keeps it (and wins the Giro)
1996 [Mazzo] (Aprica) W: Gotti -> MR: Tonkov takes it from Olano (and wins the Giro)
1997 [Mazzo] (Edolo) W: Tonkov -> MR: Gotti keeps it (and wins the Giro)
1999 [Mazzo] (Aprica – S.Cristina – Aprica) W: Heras -> MR: Gotti takes it from Savoldelli (and wins the Giro)
2004 [Mazzo] (Vivione – Presolana) W: Garzelli -> MR: Cunego keeps it (and wins the Giro)
2006 [Mazzo] (Aprica) W: Basso -> MR: Basso keeps it (and wins the Giro)
2008 [Mazzo] (Aprica – Tirano) W: Sella -> MR: Contador keeps it (and wins the Giro)
2010 [Mazzo] (Aprica) W: Scarponi -> MR: Basso takes it from Arroyo (and wins the Giro)
2012 [Tovo] (Stelvio) W: De Gendt -> MR: Rodriguez keeps it (but will lose it)
2015 [Mazzo] (Aprica) W: Landa -> MR: Contador keeps it (and wins the Giro)
2017 [Edolo] (Stelvio - Umbrail - Bormio) W: Nibali -> MR: Dumoulin keeps it (and wins the Giro)

What to expect:
I expect a great battle on the Presolana to get into the breakaway, and then only some good pace on Gavia. Probably a 30-40 riders peloton in Mazzo di Valtellina, and then full carnage on the Mortirolo, after which gaps will dilate on the road to the finish. Who wears pink at the end of this stage might very well keep it to the end.


Andy Hampsten on Passo Gavia, 5 June 1988
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 17: Commezzadura - Anterselva/Antholz 180 km

Wednesday, May 29th

START TIME: 12.20 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
After the queen stage, the riders face a tricky medium mountain stage which might catch someone off guard. The stage starts from the town of Commezzadura and heads north-east the whole day, featuring three GPMs with an uphill finish. The first climb of the day is the easy side of the Passo della Mendola (uncategorized... 8.4 km at 4.5%), an irregular climb with some good ramps but never very steep. The descent is very long and quite technical, and leads to the beginning of a 45 km long easy section in the valley, where the road will only slightly go uphill until the town of Bressanone, where the second climb of the day starts, Elvas (GPM4, 3.4 km at 7.6%). It is a short and fairly easy climb that should not be see any particular action, even though it does have a pretty hard ramp in the middle. The descent is even shorter, and leads to 10 km of flat that lead to the third climb of the day, Terento (GPM3, 6.6 km at 7.6%). This is a much more serious climb, with the gradient often going above 10%, and it tops at 45 km to go, so it could do a lot of damage if a team puts the hammer down. The descent is fairly easy, and after it the riders will hit a 20 km ascending false flat that bring to the town of Anterselva di Sotto, where the road will start climbing again for good. The riders will have to climb to the Biathlon Stadium, to celebrate/advertise the Biathlon WC to be held there in 2020. The climb of Anterselva (GPM3, 5.5 km at 6.9%) starts with a 3 km ramp at 4.9%, but after a 2.5 km false flat section the road ramps up to an average of 8.2% for 4.5 km, ending at 1 km to go, which will be in the stadium itself.



The Climbs:
Passo della Mendola, NOT-A-GPM, 8.4 km at 4.5%
Not as easy as its numbers suggest, as the descent near the top lowers its average gradient. Also, it starts a few km before Fondo...



Elvas, GPM4, 3.4 km at 7.6%
A very short but quite steep climb.



Terento, GPM3, 6.6 km at 7.6%
Pretty nice climb with a tough central section. Climbed in the Giro only once, in 2004, in the great stage to Falzes that gave the pink jersey to Cunego.



Anterselva, GPM3, 5.5 km at 6.9%
See final km profile. Short and steep, with a final flattish km in the stadium.

What to expect:
It depends heavily on the GC situation. If the GC are not interested in a real fight, the break of the day will win this by 15 minutes, with only a few seconds up for grabs in the uphill sprint between the head of state. But if someone wants, the stage has some potential for setting up a team move, maybe attacking on the Terento and connecting with teammates ahead...


Anterselva, Biathlon stadium
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 18: Valdaora/Olang - Santa Maria di Sala 220 km

Thursday, May 30th

START TIME: 12.00 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
The last chance for the sprinters, if there are any left after the last 6 stages... A very long but easy stage from Valdaora, in the middle of the mountains, to Santa Maria di Sala, in the Venetian flats. The stage blatantly avoids any possible climb to get to destination as quickly and painlessly as possible, which is understandable given what we already had and what is still left. The stage starts with a 30 km uphill drag to Cimabanche, and after that it features a very long descending false flat interrupted by the only GPM of the day, Pieve di Alpago (GPM4, 6.7 km at 4.5%). The last 60 km are perfectly flat.



The Climbs:
Pieve di Alpago (GPM4, 6.7 km at 4.5%)
A pretty easy climb.



What to expect:
Mass sprint if there is anyone in the peloton willing to spend energies for it, otherwise the breakaway will take it by 15 minutes.


Villa Farsetti, Santa Maria di Sala
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 19: Treviso - San Martino di Castrozza 151 km

Friday, May 31st

START TIME: 12.55 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
It seems Vegni feels obligated to design at least one depressing MTF each year, so this year we get this one. This one is a short MTF ending in the heart of the Dolomites and avoiding most of them. The stage starts in Treviso and presents its first difficulty after 16 km, where the peloton will climb one of the many sides of Montello, S.Maria della Vittoria (4.8 km at 5.5%), which like all sides of Montello has a killer first km and then eases off to a false flat at the top. After the descent the road becomes flat again, but only for a few km: from the town of Valdobbiadene the terrain gets quite tricky, with twisty roads and even some >6% ramps here and there. This section lasts until the foot of the first GPM of the day, Passo di San Boldo (GPM3, 6.3 km at 6.8%), very famous for its tunneled hairpins near the top. There, a very fast descent brings everyone back to some more rolling terrain and two intermediate sprints, after which there will be the second GPM of the day, Lamon (GPM4, 4.8 km at 5.1%), which is also the easiest climb of the day. The descent is very short, and after it a 17 km long ascending false flat starts that brings to Fiera di Primiero, at the foot of the final climb of the day. San Martino di Castrozza (GPM2, 13.6 km at 5.6%) is basically two thirds of Passo Rolle, a very constant and pretty tame climb which is often overshadowed by its neighbours in terms of fame. It is, however, the first Dolomitic climb to have been raced in the Giro, so it has that going for it. Its ramps at a steady 6% will likely decide the winner today. Maybe the organizers had in mind something like the stage to Prato Nevoso of last year: have a straightforward MTF that might show the strength left to each GC contender, and with some luck show some weakness from the leader, encouraging a final full-out battle for tomorrow. Or maybe, they didn't have much in mind and just thought the Giro was already too hard as is, who knows...



The Climbs:
Passo di San Boldo, GPM3, 6.3 km at 6.8%
Harder than the numbers suggest. Especially in the last part, very steep and full of hairpins.



Lamon, GPM4, 4.8 km at 5.1%
No profile and nothing to note about this one.

San Martino di Castrozza, GPM2, 13.6 km at 5.6%
A very steady climb, almost always around 6%. It should favour a powerful climber.




What to expect:
Pure MTF on a power climb, it should have a pretty straightforward resolution. Who has more energy left wins and gains some seconds (but not minutes - for those, there is only tomorrow)


Passo San Boldo, hairpins in tunnels
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 20: Feltre - Croce d'Aune (Monte Avena) 194 km

Saturday, June 1st

START TIME: 11.05 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
The final showdown has finally come. The stage with the highest potential of this Giro, a potential for either greatness or disappointment, as it is often the case with the last mountains stage of any edition. The stage starts in Feltre and finishes right above the town, on Monte Avena. In between, four GPMs and the last chance for the GC contenders to gain any serious amount of time, on a route that is almost identical to the Granfondo Sportful (except the finale). The first GPM starts just 8.5 km of flat roads after the start: Cima Campo (GPM2, 18.7 km at 5.9%) is a long and steady climb, almost always between 6% and 7% for the first 15 km. Its descent is narrow only in the first part and is quite straightforward, although it does feature a small ramp around halfway. It ends in the town of Scurelle, which also marks the beginning of the second climb of the day, the biggest one. One of the biggest of the whole edition, in fact. Passo Manghen (GPM1, 18.9 km at 7.6%) is a monstrous climb: the organisers have put the official start in Telve, where they also placed an intermediate sprint, but the climb actually starts 4 km before at a steady 5%. The first two thirds of this climb are very irregular, with two 2 km long 9% ramps in between three 5% sections. After them, however, its last third is much more regular, and also steeper, with 6.1 km at 10% average. Manghen is a very famous climb that has not been raced much in the Giro at all, and the last two times it was, in 2008 and 2012, it was far from the finish and saw little to no action. Today it's even further from the finish (116 km to go)... but unlike those two occasions, this time it is the last big climb of the stage and of the whole Giro. This is the last chance for those who need to gain more than, let's say, one minute and a half, so hopefully we will see some more action this time. The descent is very fast and narrow, and after it there is a small ramp of 3 km at 6-7% that leads to a flat section in the valley. This section is 15 km long and ends in Predazzo with the last intermediate sprint. Here, the road goes up again for the third GPM of the day, which is in fact a pass the riders have already partially climbed yesterday, albeit from the other side: Passo Rolle (GPM2, 20.6 km at 4.7%). From this side, it is easier, as its two main sections at little over 6% are divided by a false flat section of 7.3 km in the middle. At this point in the stage (and in the whole race), the riders should not underestimate any climb. The 6% sections of Rolle are more than enough to attack, if needed. The descent is long and very technical, and it could be another good place for an attack. At the bottom, however, there are 18 km of descending false flat down the valley, which admittedly are not ideal for attacking. The valley ends at 22 km to go, with the start of the penultimate climb (which was originally planned to be the last one), the Passo Croce D'Aune (GPM2, 11.1 km at 5.5%), which in terms of structure is a small version of Rolle: first ramp at 6.5%, the 4 km of false flat in the middle, then uphill again for the last part. This last section is much steeper than anywhere on Rolle though, with a solid 8.3% average and some short but very serious ramps (max 16%). Needless to say, that's another good place to attack, if you don't need a lot of time. The top of Croce D'Aune is at only 11 km to go, 4 of which are of descent. Up to here, the route is exactly the same as the Granfondo Sportful, to which it is inspired. The Granfondo would just go all the way down and return to Feltre... instead, the Giro goes up again to the finishing line of Monte Avena (GPM1, 6.9 km at 7.3%), a very solid but not particularly hard climb, that is GPM1 only because it is the MTF of the final mountain stage. So this is it. The last chance for the climbers. The TTers, however, still have one small chance tomorrow...



The Climbs:
Cima Campo, GPM2, 18.7 km at 5.9%
Long and steady climb, with some false flat at the top.



Passo Manghen, GPM1, 18.9 km at 7.6%
The last monster of this Giro, with its last 6 km at 10%.



Passo Rolle, GPM2, 20.6 km at 4.7%
The first Dolomite. From this side it's not much, but it still has some decent ramps in the first and last sections.



Passo Croce D'Aune, GPM2, 11.1 km at 5.5%
Not particularly hard, but it does have a tough final section, which should be the last spot available to launch an attack of any ambition.



Monte Avena, GPM1, 6.9 km at 7.3%
See final km profile. A good climb, consistently between 6%-8%.

What to expect:
As with all final mountain stages, it depends on the GC situation. If it is done and dusted, expect nothing before Croce d'Aune. Same if it is too close. BUT if it is on that sweet spot of a fading leader with 2-3 minutes of advantage to an opponent on the rise... why not dream. A solo attack on Manghen is out of the question (...I think), but any decent pace there will isolate any leader that does not have the strongest team. Very important will also be the break of the day on Cima Campo: attacking on Manghen is totally possible if the goal is to connect with your teammates in the breakaway. In case there is only good pace on Manghen, a solo attack is maybe possible on Rolle, if the leader is isolated and weakened. Or maybe a small group of 2-3 contenders might get away. If nothing happens there, the last chance for a somewhat long attack would be Croce d'Aune, but it is not gonna give you a lot of time, unless the leader cracks completely.
In the last 3 editions of the Giro, the pink jersey has changed a total of five times in the last three stages of the race. That is, 5 stages out of 9 have seen a change of leader at the end of the Giro, more than half of them. Is this year going to keep up with the trend?


The Dolomites seen from Passo Rolle
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

Stage 21: Verona - Verona 17 km ITT

Sunday, June 2nd

START TIME: 13.40 CEST

FINISH TIME: ~17.15 CEST






Technical Overview:
The final stage of this Giro is an ITT, just like it was in 2017. The route is almost the same as the final Verona ITT of the 2010 Giro, that one only being 2 km shorter than today's. The first 4 km are flat, on wide and straight roads. Then, after a few hundred meters of ascending false flat, the last GPM of the Giro begins. The climb of Torricelle (GPM4, 4.5 km at 4.6%) should be a pretty good ascent for TT specialists, as it only has one serious ramp at 9% while the rest is very favourable to them. The descent is quite fast but it does have a few tricky turns, and ends at 4 km to go. These last km are in the city center but are on pretty easy roads with almost no turns, so they should also favour the heavy guns. The finishing line is in front of the famous Arena di Verona, where each rider will get his deserved celebration just like in 2010.



The Climbs:
Torricelle, GPM4, 4.5 km at 4.6%
The last GPM of this edition.



What to expect:
The last two times the Giro ended in an ITT (2017 and 2012), the leader lost the race there. This stage is shorter than both of those, but still this is a chance for TT specialists to gain at least half a minute (and probably more) over the climbers, so if the GC is close, things will be interesting.


Ivan Basso enters the Arena di Verona, just a few seconds after winning the 2010 Giro.
 
Re: IN CONSTRUCTION

And so we are ready for a new Giro. Only 10 days to go! :D

As always, please let me know about any mistakes in the presentation (especially I'm worried about picture swaps or stuff like that, I've been making a lot of copy-pasting...)

Discussion open!

 

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