Eshnar said:STAGE 11: Ponte a Ema – Bagno di Romagna 161 km
START TIME: 12.20 CEST
Probably the best medium mountain stage, coming straight after a demanding ITT. From the village of Ponte a Ema, just outside Firenze, birthplace of Gino Bartali, the riders will zig-zag through the Appennines, with 4 climbs in the rather short distance of 161 km. The first 15 km are pretty much the only real flat of the stage, leading to the town of Pontassieve, where the first difficulty begins. Passo della Consuma (GPM2 15.9 km at 6.1%). Its descent is very fast, and has some really technical sections. Once reached the bottom the riders will find no respite, as the road will point uphill again, towards Passo della Calla (GPM3, 16 km at 5.3%), very regular with ramps at 5-6% all the way to the top. The top marks the border between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, and the descent that follows is extremely technical, with even some narrow road segments. From the end of it, the riders will go through a descending false flat of 14 km, bringing them to the third climb of the day. Passo del Carnaio (GPM3, 11.4 km at 4.5%) is very irregular, unlike its predecessors, and features some quite steep ramps alternating with false flats. Its descent is very short, only 5 kms, and leads to the finishing line in Bagno di Romagna. From there however, the riders won't be able to rest, because they'll have to do one lap of a pretty long circuit, that features just one climb, Monte Fumaiolo (GPM2, 23.1 km at 3.7%). This climb is just a very long, irregular uphill drag, with short descent and some solid ramps, before the last 3 km that have an average of 8.6%, ramping up to 12% at the very top, from which there will be 25 km to go. Of those 25, 22 km are occupied by a long descent, that can be divided into two sections. The upper part is through a narrow road, very twisty at the top, that makes for an interesting descent. This section lasts roughly 9 km. The end is marked by a little uphill section, with 3 km at 4-6% gradients. The second part of the descent is very shallow and straightforward, and lasts until 3.4 km to go. The finale is flat and mostly straight.
Passo della Consuma GPM2
Quite a good climb, long and with solid gradients in the first part.
Passo della Calla GPM3
Similar to the previous climbs in terms of overall toughness, this one starts easy but gets harder in the last part.
Passo del Carnaio GPM3
Irregular climb, with 8% sections alternating with false flats.
Monte Fumaiolo GPM2
Very long but easy climb, with only one steep section of 3 km at the top.
What to expect:
Everything and nothing. This stage is definitely one of the stages with the highest potential, but that doesn't guarantee that it will be raced properly. The final climb isn't that hard, leaving aside the last 3 km, and if the gc is close nobody will risk anything before that. The struggle on the first climb will be hard though, and that might lead to things getting out of hand. Even an attack on the last descent is possible, but if the leader has a strong team it won't gain much, if anything at all.
Most of the expectations are tied to the outcome of the ITT. If the GC has been blown open by it, we will likely see something.
Gino Bartali was born in Ponte a Ema, on July 18th, 1914. He started his pro career in 1934, getting already in 1935 a fourth place at Milano – Sanremo and the overall win of the Itzulia. In 1936 he won his first Giro d'Italia, and the first of his three Giro di Lombardia. In 1937 he won the Giro d'Italia again, and in 1938 he won the Tour de France. In 1939 he finally won the first of his four Milano-Sanremo.
During the war he worked in a bike workshop, and allegedly helped around 800 Jews leaving the country, by working for a secret association and often smuggling documents hiding them in his own bike during his trips.
After the end of the war, he won th Giro at the first chance, in 1946, against his main rival and fomer teammate Coppi, who beat him the following year. In 1948 he crashed in the Giro, and went to salvage the season at the Tour. That was a very troubling moment, as Italy was on the brink of a civil war. For that reason, after the 12th stage, when Bartali was over 20 minutes behind the leader (despite having won already 3 stages) and was considering dropping out, he allegedly received a call by the Italian prime minister, who begged him to deliver an epic win that could release te social pressure in the country, that had been shaken in those days by a political murder. The next day, in the stage to Briançon, he won alone,gaining around 20 minutes over the leader and getting back into full contention. On the next day, he won again, getting the yellow jersey. He won that Tour with 26' of advantage and 7 stage wins. Legend says that when he got back to Italy he was received by the prime minister and granted the wish to never pay taxes again.
His career continued for a few years, always revolving around his friendship-rivalry with Coppi.
Retired in 1954, he died to natural causes on May 5th, 2000.