The Etna was cool, stage 9 was a nice preview and the hills were entertaining, but really, it's time for the real climbing to start. I'm really looking forward to this. A lot of riders have a lot to prove.
Stage 15: Rivolto – Piancavallo 185 km
Sunday, October 18th, 11:05 CEST
The third weekend ends with the hardest MTF of the race, that comes with the GC already shaken by a time-trial. From the air base of Rivolto, home of the Frecce Tricolori (the acrobatic demo team of the Italian air force, so expect a show at the start), the riders will head into the mountains of the Friuli region. The first climb of the day comes after 54 km, Sella Chianzutan (GPM2, 10.6 km at 5.4%). If the break of the day is not yet settled, this climb will definitely decide its composition. Its descent is on twisty but wide roads, a common feature of almost the entire stage, and brings to the first intermediate sprint of the day, in Villa Santina. The route then almost immediately heads back south, climbing first the uncategorized Forcella di Priuso (3 km at 6.7%) and then Forcella di Monte Rest (GPM2, 7.4 km at 7.5%), a pretty solid climb that will wear some legs out if the pace is high. The following descent then leads into a 12 km long valley before the road goes up again to the easiest climb of the day, Forcella di Pala Balzana (GPM2, 13.3 km at 4.4%). This climb also features the second sprint of the day in Poffabro, on its central section, a rather weird placement. This time the descent is narrow and very technical, and it is a bit of a shame that it is followed by a descending false flat of almost 25 km. Finally, after reaching the town of Aviano, the final climb of the day begins: Piancavallo (GPM1, 14.5 km at 7.8%). A very demanding climb, that starts very steep and eases off a little towards the end. Tomorrow is a rest day, so the riders have no excuses.
Sella Chianzutan: GPM2, 10.6 km at 5.4%
A decent climb, with constant slopes around 6%.
Forcella di Monte Rest: GPM2, 7.4 km at 7.5%
Quite an interesting climb with good gradient. We also get for free the profile of the uncategorized Forcella di Priuso.
Forcella di Pala Balzana: GPM2, 13.3 km at 4.4%
Very irregular but overall an easy climb that should only be good for putting some pace in the peloton.
Piancavallo: GPM1, 14.5 km at 7.8%
The hardest MTF of this race is a really hard climb, that starts with 6 km at 9.4%, followed by 5 km at 7.5% and then an easy 3 km final stretch. Used only three times in the Giro, the first in 1998 won by Pantani, and the last in 2017 won by Landa. In between, it was the first climb in the mythical Gardeccia 2011 stage.
What to expect:
A strong break of the day, hopefully some pace before the last climb and full on carnage on it. Whoever lost time yesterday will need to make a statement.