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Giro d’Italia 2024, Stage 16: Livigno – Santa Cristina Valgardena/Sankt Christina in Gröden (Monte Pana), 202.0k 206.0k

Credit to Devil’s Elbow for doing god’s work ( :cool: ) and re-writing up the stage after the removal of Stelvio.

Stage 16: Livigno – Santa Cristina Valgardena/Sankt Christina in Gröden (Monte Pana), 202.0k 206.0k​


Edited on 14/5 to reflect the annulment of the Stelvio. The parts I've replaced are in spoiler tags.

The Cima Coppi stage, and it really hasn't had all that much because apparently it's easier to clear 13k of a road going up to 2500 metres with seven days' warning than it is to clear 4k of a road going up to 2300 metres with seven months' warning.


The route

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After a rest day spent at altitude in Livigno, the race restarts by retracing its steps from the previous stage. First, it’s up to Passo Eira (the first 1.9k of which are in neutralisation), where the riders turned onto Mottolino, then it’s the route in reverse as far as Isolaccia, at the bottom of the descent of Passo di Foscagno. No mountain points, because they ran out for a while thanks to last stage’s MTF.



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Following the descent, it's time for what is most easily described as the side of Stelvio they were already doing, only with the final 3 kilometres chopped off. It's still a genuine HC, it's still the Cima Coppi, and it still shouldn't do anything for GC. No official profile at the time of updating the post, but of course we have Cyclingcols.

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After a long, hairpin-laden no longer quite so long and definitely not hairpin-laden descent, it’s time for endless valley, now starting by re-entering Italy and rejoining the planned route shortly after, then through the Vinschgau and down the Etsch/Adige valley into Bozen/Bolzano, the capital of Südtirol/Alto Adige, where the riders may chose to contest the intermediate sprint before turning back north for a short distance up the Eisack/Isarco valley. Here, it’s time for the real problem with this stage: the run-in to the final climb. Another climb before Passo di Pinei/Panidersattel would have been nice, but the main issue is the side of said climb they’re using. Instead of the one that starts with 5.5k at 10% and doesn’t have an endless flat section in the middle, we use the one that does have an endless flat section in the middle without a hard start to show for it. But hey, at least they could squeeze the Intergiro and bonus sprints into the flat part.

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A short descent takes the riders into the Grödental/Val Gardena. This valley consists of three villages, and today’s finish is hosted by the one that’s been forgotten by the Giro until now. Santa Cristina/Sankt Christina has plenty of sporting tradition, though, thanks mainly to the annual round of the Alpine skiing World Cup held here. However, we’re not finishing in town, but two kilometres above it at the Nordic skiing centre of Monte Pana. Ostensibly the climb is 6.5k at 6.1%, but really it’s a two-kilometre wall preceded by a slightly uphill drag up the valley.

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What to expect?

Probably a winning break, given that whichever team leads the race UAE won’t want to overwork its mountain domestiques in the valley and therefore will either go slow on the Stelvio or sit up after the descent for as long as they need to. GC action should be constrained to the final 2 kilometres. At least there’s scope for pretty pictures…
 
Should be very hard to control for UAE, so I doubt they'll try. They might if they skip Umbrail though.
even Bora may give them a hand then to go for bonus seconds in the fight for 2nd. Otherwise most likely one for the breakaway, yeah.

Pogacar today also said that they would likely take it a bit more easy in the final week, so it may take a day before he forgets about rest day orders again.
 
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After Umbrailpass it's about 110k more or less downhill, for a breakaway full of climbers. Would not be a massive task to keep them in check me thinks, but that doesn't matter if no one wants to chase them.
I agree that Bora might have an interest in getting bonus seconds the way the gap stands, or gamble on Pog not giving a damn when Martinez attacks because he is in Tour saving mode.
 
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Semi-related question: does anyone know what would happen to the Cima Coppi if Umbrail is scrapped? The second-highest summit of the race was yesterday, would they award it to the highest remaining summit (Passo Sella on Wednesday) or scrap it entirely?
If there is a prize for the cima coppi winner, I would assume they'd award it to Pogacar, but keep the points as they are. They only slightly differ on from 2nd anyway.
 
Semi-related question: does anyone know what would happen to the Cima Coppi if Umbrail is scrapped? The second-highest summit of the race was yesterday, would they award it to the highest remaining summit (Passo Sella on Wednesday) or scrap it entirely?
In 2019, Cima Coppi was changed (from Gavia) to the highest remaining climb (Manghen), not the second highest (Lago Serrù).
 

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