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Giro d'Italia 2021 Giro d'Italia, Stage 20: Verbania – Alpe Motta 165 km

WIll Bernal crack?

  • Yes, on the 1st climb

    Votes: 8 11.4%
  • Yes, on the penultimate climb

    Votes: 7 10.0%
  • Yes, on the final climb

    Votes: 10 14.3%
  • No, he will only lose a small amount of time at the end of the stage

    Votes: 34 48.6%
  • No, he will be able to follow his competitors

    Votes: 5 7.1%
  • No, he will destroy everyone

    Votes: 6 8.6%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .
I made this stage analysis all by myself!

Stage 20: Verbania – Alpe Motta 165 km

Saturday, May 29th, 12.20 CEST



Technical Overview:

As usual, stage 20 is the last chance for the climbers. From Verbania the peloton will head into Switzerland along Lake Maggiore (passing through the first intermediate sprint in Cannobio) and enter the Italian speaking Canton of Ticino and then into the Grisons. There, after a total of 80 km of flat terrain, they will begin climbing the first climb of the day, and it is a big one: the Passo S.Bernardino (GPM1, 23.7 km at 6.2%) a huge climb that can be divided into three sections, separated by small flat or descending stretches that lower the average gradient. The first section is 7 km at 8%, ending at the village of Pian San Giacomo. The second section is 6.5 km at 7.4%, ending at the village of S. Bernardino, which gives the name to the pass. Finally, the third section is 6.7 km at 6.7%, ending at the top, with a flat stretch along a lake before the descent. The descent itself is very technical but it is much shorter than the climb, with only 7 km, ending in the valley of the Hinterrhein (the “posterior” Rhein), one of the two “parents” of the Rhein river. The riders will follow the flow of the river for just 12 km before crossing the mountains again to get back to Italy via the Splügenpass/Passo Spluga (GPM1, 8.9 km at 7.3%), which from this side is a decent but not particularly tough climb, which tops at 29 km to go. It is an absolute beast on the Italian side, which the riders will instead descend (again a very technical descent), although not all the way down. In fact, at 9 km to go in the town of Campodolcino, the peloton will take a secondary road to climb back up again towards the town of Madesimo, where the second intermediate sprint is situated (at 2.4 km to go…), and then to the finish line at the Alpe Motta (GPM1, 7.3 km at 7.6%), whose average gradient would be around 8.5% if we ignore the one flat km in Madesimo. Here gaps will be big only if someone has attacked on the previous climbs.

Final Kilometers


The Climbs:

Passo S.Bernardino: GPM1, 23.7 km at 6.2%

Situated entirely in Switzerland, it lies on the language boundary between Italian and German. It takes its name from the village of S.Bernardino, on its southern side, which in turn takes its name from a chapel dedicated to Saint Bernardino. For this reason, it is called this way also in German (San-Bernardino-Pass), rather unusually. The “Italian” side is a very long and hard climb, that will surely be felt by the riders’ legs.


Splügenpass/Passo Spluga: GPM1, 8.9 km at 7.3%

Situated on the Italo-Swiss border, it is also on the language boundary, just like the S.Bernardino. There is a town named Splügen at the bottom of the north side, but this time the name seems to be just a common toponym in the area, coming from the latin word Speluca, meaning cave.


Alpe Motta: GPM1, 7.3 km at 7.6%

The last climb of this Giro is quite a steep and short one, with gradients almost always above 8% and a with a small respite in Madesimo for the intermediate sprint.


What to expect:

As it is the last chance for the climbers, it depends on the GC situation. If someone has time to recover and has the legs for it, this stage is perfect for long range attacks. Maybe not on S.Bernardino, which is a bit too far from the finish, but definitely on the Splügenpass. Descents might also be a good spot for attacks. Whatever happens though, the Giro will not be over yet.


Passo San Bernardino
The stage is not as anticlimatic as some think. The climbs are not shallow: San Bernardino includes 14.5 km at 7.3%. The remaining climbs have average grades of 7.3 % and 7.6%. Very few flat sections (about 12 km in total) in the second half of the stage. A long range attack is possible (esp. on Splugen) - if Yates is still thinking about winning the Giro he should try. Too bad Bernal's team is so strong.
I don't think that Yates will try for the overall win tomorrow. I think if he'd taken over a minute today we could have seen something, but my gut says after a stage win and podium secured he'd be reasonably comfortable sitting in and trying to nab enough off Caruso at the end to get himself second overall and another stage win.

e: just read Copeland's interview snippet where he says Simon doesn't care for the podium and will try win, so I really hope we see that :)

Caruso won't try for the win he will 100% just secure his podium. He'll be absolutely elated at even a third. Hell I'm pretty sure he'd have been thrilled about top 5 too

Best hopes are that Almeida, Vlasov or even Bardet try a mega raid and that keeps the pace high enough to put Bernal in some trouble and gives a bridge for someone to gamble to.
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If Yates wants to win the whole damn thing, he has to move before Alpe Motta. Bernal is not gonna lose much time on that climb. It's not as hard as Sega or Mera.

And Yates could find an ally in Almeida. Brutal pace from QS/BE on Bernardino with an attack on the Splügen Pass from the GC guys.