Stage 18: Oderzo – Val Di Zoldo 161 km
Thursday, May 25th, 12:20 – 17:10 CEST
The final mountain block begins with a beautiful 4-star stage in the Dolimites, which funnily enough, with its 161 km, is the second shortest road stage of the race. From the town of Oderzo, the riders will immediately head into the mountains, with the first climb of the day coming after 28 km: Passo della Crosetta (GPM1, 11.6 km at 7.1%), a tough climb that will promote the formation of a strong breakaway. At the top the peloton will find a 16 km long false flat, before a short descent and another climb, Pieve d’Alpago (GPM4, 3.3 km at 5.5%), a very easy one. Its descent will bring everyone back to the Piave river, at which point the riders will have to go upstream for 32 km of false flat before hitting the next climb, the uncategorized Tai di Cadore (6.7 km at 4.6%). Shortly after the top, they will find the first intermediate sprint in Pieve di Cadore, just before turning south-west to get to the main dish of today, coming after 10 km more. The final combo begins with Forcella Cibiana (GPM1, 9.6 km at 7.8%), a mid-size climb with a pretty steep second half. It starts at 36 km to go and ends at 26, which means it is already in GC attack range. The descent is also quite tricky, and leads directly into the second intermediate sprint, Forno di Zoldo, and to the foot of the next climb, starting at 15 km to go. The climb to Coi (GPM2, 5.8 km at 9.7%) a secondary road parallel to Forcella Staulanza, is a new entry in the Giro and a very interesting one. It is a narrow road that gets steeper and steeper all the way to the top, which lies at 5.3 km to go. The descent is very short, only 2.1 km, but it does feature a few interesting curves and might give or take a few seconds between contenders. It connects with the main road of Staulanza at only 3.1 km from the finish line of Val di Zoldo (GPM2, 2.7 km at 6.4%), the same as in 2005.
Passo della Crosetta
: GPM1, 11.6 km at 7.1%
A tough climb with very regular slopes. It will assure a quality breakaway.
: GPM4, 3.3 km at 5.5%
Short and easy, nothing much to see here.
: GPM1, 9.6 km at 7.8%
Ridden last time during the mythical stage of Gardeccia 2011 (but from the opposite side), this climb is short but has a very steep second half.
: GPM2, 5.8 km at 9.7%
A new and very surprising climb, short but really steep. See below for the profile.
Val di Zoldo
: GPM2, 2.7 km at 6.4%
Last time we had a finish here was 2005, and it was an awesome stage. This year the location is the same, but the approach will be completely different.
What to Expect:
Anything can happen from the start of Cibiana onward. However, this is only the first of three consecutive GC stages, so it is hard to predict how much energy the riders will want to spend here. I think there will be selection on Cibiana and attacks only on Coi. Moderate gaps between the favourites.
Forno di Zoldo