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Race Design Thread

Page 123 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Libertine Seguros said:
In lieu of there being anything really interesting to say about this stage I thought I'd throw it to the floor which of the races I've got planned I should post next when the Tour is over. Should it be:
- a second Deutschlandtour, this time compacted into half the time?
- a second Tour de Pologne, in the opposite direction to the first and trying to make this into a genuine all rounder's race and restore some of its Cold War era glory?
- an Österreich-Rundfahrt?
- a Tour of Norway?
- a second Giro, with only one climb repeated from the last one (and which you'll all guess anyway)?
- a fifth (5th) Vuelta a España, featuring no previously-used mountain or hilltop finishes or ESP climbs from my previous attempts?

Any of the top four.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
In lieu of there being anything really interesting to say about this stage I thought I'd throw it to the floor which of the races I've got planned I should post next when the Tour is over. Should it be:
- a second Deutschlandtour, this time compacted into half the time?
- a second Tour de Pologne, in the opposite direction to the first and trying to make this into a genuine all rounder's race and restore some of its Cold War era glory?
- an Österreich-Rundfahrt?
- a Tour of Norway?
- a second Giro, with only one climb repeated from the last one (and which you'll all guess anyway)?
- a fifth (5th) Vuelta a España, featuring no previously-used mountain or hilltop finishes or ESP climbs from my previous attempts?

Since I'm Norwegian I vote for a Tour of Norway. Lots of good climbs and even more fantastic scenery to choose from.
 
Fantasy Giro d'Italia without the Dolomites

Ok, it's finally time to reboot the GT I started at couple of years ago, but never finished; that is a fantasy Giro d'Italia without using the Dolomites. Originally I was thinking to leave the Alps out as well, using only the Apennines, but after some consideration I decided that there were too few opportunities to create stages with multiple climbs if I didn't use the Alps.

I've tried to create a balanced GT with moutainous and hilly stages throughout the whole Giro, but without overdoing it with too many MTF and tough stages. I have a prologue and 2 ITT, but no TTT. I have created both high MTF and medium MTF in addition to a couple of stages with a descent finish. I have also tries to make a couple of queen stages with multiple climbs and at least 4500-5000 height meters of categorized climbs. The detalis will be revealed as I post each stage.

Prologue: Agrigento 9,8 km

We start in Sicily, in Agrigento. A short, but challenging prologue using some of the old WC course from 1994 (at least I think). A short climb bringing the riders from 40m to 177 m altitude the first 3 km, before the descend to the finish.

Map:

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Profile:

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Stage 1: Agrigento - Syracuse: 216 km

The profile and map shows the last 171 km of the stage. The first part is mainly flat. This stage takes the riders from the starting point in Agrigento along the southern part of Sicily to Syracuse at the east coast. The stage is fairly easy without any major climbs or difficulties, and should be one for the sprinters, espcially since the last 60 km are downhill or flat.

Map:

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Profile:

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OlavEH said:
Fantasy Giro d'Italia with the Dolomites

Ok, it's finally time to reboot the GT I started at couple of years ago, but never finished; that is a fantasy Giro d'Italia without using the Dolomites. Originally I was thinking to leave the Alps out as well, using only the Apennines, but after some consideration I decided that there were too few opportunities to create stages with multiple climbs if I didn't use the Alps.

I've tried to create a balanced GT with moutainous and hilly stages throughout the whole Giro, but without overdoing it with too many MTF and tough stages. I have a prologue and 2 ITT, but no TTT. I have created both high MTF and medium MTF in addition to a couple of stages with a descent finish. I have also tries to make a couple of queen stages with multiple climbs and at least 4500-5000 height meters of categorized climbs. The detalis will be revealed as I post each stage.

Prologue: Agrigento 9,8 km

We start in Sicily, in Agrigento. A short, but challenging prologue using some of the old WC course from 1994 (at least I think). A short climb bringing the riders from 40m to 177 m altitude the first 3 km, before the descend to the finish.

I know a few guys in Cortina d'Ampezzo who hate this years Giro because "it's not a real Giro without the Dolomites."
I told the that Madonna di Campiglio still belongs to the Brenta Dolomites, but they called Madonna di Campiglio a f***ing joke. :D
 

Stage 2: Catania - Catania: 173 km


Etna, Rifugio Citelli: 22,2 km, 5,5 %
Etna: Rifugio Sapienze: 18 km, 7,2 %

Already on stage 2 we move into the high mountains. Although it's not a MTF, two long and demanding ascents of Etna and a technichal descent to Cantania means that the GT favorites have to be in good form from the start if they don't want to lose time.

The stage both starts and finish in Catania at the east coast of Siciliy. The stage starts by making a loop around Mount Etna to Linguaglossa at the north side of the volcano. From there the riders will do two ascents of Etna before descending to the finish line in the outskirts of Catania.

The first ascent starts from Linguaglossa. The climb is long and fairly even without any very steep sections. Mostly around 6 % or so. Instead of turning off the main road to Rifugio Citelli, the riders start the descent to Zaffarena. Here they will immediately start the second climb of the day; to Rifugio Sapienza, just south of the top of Monte Etna. This climb is somewhat steeper, 18 km, 7,2 % and have longer sections of 8 and 9 %.

After passing the top they start the descent to the finish in Mascalucia in the outskirts of Catania. The first half of the descent is quite technichal with a lot of hairpins. Because there is almost none flat part after the descent and before the stage finish, it should make it possible for good descenders to attack in the last part of the stage.

Map:

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Profile:

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Stage 3 Reggio Di Calabria - Vibo Valentia: 195 km

First stage on the Itaiian mainland. However, they don't travel a long way up the coast, but start at the biggest city and capital in the southernmost region of Italy, namely Calabria.

From Reggio the riders heas straight west into the mountains and the national park of Aspromonte. After 25 km they will start the climb for Passo de Petrulli (11 km, 6,5 %). A long and gentle descent of about 30 km before over 100 kms of fairly easy terrain as they countinue north.

Instead of heading straight for Vibo Valentia, the riders turn off the main road and head west for the coastal town of Tropea, known for its location at the cliffs above an exceptional beach. But no time for relaxing at the beach yet. The riderrs continue north along the coast and which brings them in a loop around Vibo Valentia, so they will approach the town from the north.

With 12 kms to go the riders will start the 9 km, 5 % climb to Vibo Valentia. The climb should be tough enough to get rid of the pure sprinters and maybe some of the puncheurs like Sagan and Gilbert too. This may be a stage for types like Dan Martin and Kwia. The last 3 kms into the town and the finish line are flat.

Map:

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Profile:

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Stage 4: Catanzaro - Castrovillari: 232 km


Another transistion stage in the southern Italy. Most of stage is along the east coast and is more or less completely flat. But as the previous day there is a short climb close to the stage finish -With 12-13 km to go the riders start the only climb of the day, a 5,5 km, 5 % climb towards the finish in Castrovillari. The climb is probably difficult enough to drop the more typical sprinters, but the last flat 7-8 km should provide a chance to close some the gaps from the climb.

Map and profile of the last 199 km.

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Stage 5: Castrovillari - Potenza: 199 km

Campo Tenese (14 km): 10,5 km, 5 %
Viggiano (133 km): 2,4 km, 9 %
Monte Pilato (141 km): 6 km, 9,3 %
La Sellata (178 km): 7,8 km, 6,0 %

After a couple of fairly easy stages, it's time for a more hilly stage. Probably not hard enough to create some distances between the GT favorites, but it should be ideally suited for breakaway specialists. The mountains east and south of Potenza have some really steep climbs, which should also been used for a real version of the Giro.

They start climbing immidiately after the start with a 10 km climb to Campo Tenese. Already here there is a chance to form a breakaway group. The next climb starts after about 40 km from Casteluccio Inferiore and the riders ascends the southers slopes of Monte la Spina.

The riders continue northwards where they face the main difficulty of the day after about 120 km. First a short climb to the village of Viggiano, a short descent before the last part to the highest point; Monte Viggiano where you find the Sanctuary of Monte Viggiano. The first 4 kms of the climb has a gradient of over 11 % and should prove a real test for the riders.

The last climb of the day is about 22 km from the stage finish in Potenza and could be the decsion point of todays stage. From the top there is a 10 km descent and the last 12 km to Potenza is mainly flat.

Map:

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Profile:

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Stage 6: Potenza - Foggia: 186 km

Not much to say about todays stage. A stage that will almost certainly end in a mass sprint. A few hills in the first 50-60 km, but the last half of the stage is dead flat. A sprinters paradise and probably a pretty uneventful stage.

Map:

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Profile:

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Tour de France

Stage 1 Calais; 14km ITT
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My Tour starts with a 14km long ITT Calais, it's not just a pure power test but it also shouldn't be too technical. I always like a nice short ITT or a prologue at the biginning of a GT.

Stage 2 Calais - Brugge; 166km
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One of the few stages for the pure sprinters, but with a big part of the stage being alonside the coast wind could be a factor.
The finish line is on the Vlamingstraat near the Grote Markt.
 
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Tour de France

Stage 3 Brugge - Ninove; 258km
The first hard road stage of this GT, this is a carbon copy of the 2011 RVV route.
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We've already seen the brutal P-R cobbles in the Tour, so this time we'll try something different. It could be a great stage, very similar to one of those chaotic hilly Tirreno-Adriatico stages or like the strade bianche stage in the Giro and it's a great chance to use the old RVV route.:)
 
Stage 7: Foggia - Roccaraso: 256 km

Finally, the first real killer stage. Stage 2 with two ascents of Etna was tough, but the sheer length of this stage should prove a real challenge for almost anyone in the peloton.

The first 110 km aren't anything special. Two categorized climbs, but nothing to diffcult. After about 115 km the climb for Campitello Matese starts. It's not especially steep, but almost 24 kms of climbing is guaranteed to soften the riders legs with over 100 km to go.

After the descent from Campitello Matese, the riders continue north. But instead of heading straight for Isersnia they make a loop in the mountains west of the town with a climb to La Montagnola before turning west towards Isernia. After passing the town they climb the short but steep climb to Valio Del Macerone. Almost 220 km down, but still 35 km and two climbs to go.

The last two second category climbs are not extremely tough, but with a probable race time of close to 7 hours, there is certainly a possibility for a selection at the last climb to the stage finish in Roccaraso. Any rider who has a less than optimal day could lose a lot of time. The length and close to 4000 height meters of categorized and uncategorized climbs is something the riders don't face very often.

Climbs:
Motta Montecervino (46 km): 7 km, 5,2 %
Jelsi (80 km): 4,5 km, 5 %
Campitello Matese (139 km): 23 km, 4,8 %
La Montagnola (190 km): 4,7 km, 7,1 %
Valico Del Macerone (223 km): 3,7 km, 7,3 %
Rionero Sanntico: (236 km): 7,8 km, 6,7 %
Roccaraso (stage finish): 7,5 km, 6,2 %

Maps:

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Profiles:

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I'd better get a move on with finishing my Tour, since I'm a very slow poster on here these days...

Stage 17: Toulouse - Station de Ski Luchon-Superbagnères, 172km

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Climbs:
Port de Balès (HC) 19,5km @ 6,1%
Superbagnères (HC) 18,5km @ 6,3%

Intermediate sprint:
Saint-Gaudens, 88km

Perhaps the most conventional stage of the race (barring the Paris sprint we will inevitably see on the final day), the first day in the Pyrenées (on the final Thursday!) is also the only Hors Catégorie mountaintop finish of the race; and also the only time that the last climb of the day is beyond categorization. It's also the kind of stage that the ASO loves to design, keeping all of the focus on the well-known climbs at the end of the stage.

I'm even kind enough to the riders to give them absolutely zero transfer after yesterday's short sprint stage, to make sure they're ready. After rolling out from Toulouse, the first half of the stage is pretty flat and ordinary, at least until the intermediate sprint at the half-way point, in Saint-Gaudens. If the break is small, the sprinters could even fight some points out at this, because I've compressed all of the stage action in to the last 65km, going for the opposite approach to what I did with the Alps, where the first stage was the longest and toughest; there the idea was to make a stage so brutally tough that attrition would break it down, and leave domestiques broken for the following day, while the bigger MTF on the third day (the one in the Massif Central) came in the easiest stage so the riders couldn't leave their efforts until then. This time, there's a tough stage tomorrow, but the climbers are running out of chances, and with a HC mountaintop finish today, the action would be left to the end anyhow.

Port de Balès is a relatively recent discovery for bike racing; after the tarmac was repaved in 2006, the Tour de France stepped over its slopes for the first time in 2007; it has since returned in 2010, 2012 and 2014; the Vuelta a España has also crossed the pass in 2013, while the Route du Sud has also used it, most recently last year. It is fast becoming part of the scenery; part of that is due to its convenient location, above regular stage host Bagnères de Luchon (often just Luchon), and also as a lead-in to classic Tour col Peyresourde, as with the rather excellent 2007 Loudenvielle stage, and also the 2012 Peyragudes stage, a design point copied in the Vuelta a year later - though, rather unusually, it was the Vuelta that produced the tougher stage design! Anyway, all this is to say, we are now rather au fait with Port de Balès; its relatively easy first few kilometres giving way to steep gradients, with countless stretches over 10%, a number of kilometres over 9% average and a few lulls and ramps to break up the rhythm. Despite the ASO's efforts, harsh weather affects the tarmac up here and it's still far from the pristine tarmac we often see over the Tour's most famouse passes, which lends it a scenic touch of the wilderness. Then again, when filled with thousands of screaming Tour fans, it won't feel quite so tranquil. On the plus side, this time unlike 2010 and 2014 it's not the final climb, so it may give the riders a bit of a break from the bunch. There is then the now-familiar fast descent into Luchon, with the flatter stretch in the middle then the steeper finish.

After this, we have a second HC climb, but it isn't, as in 2007, 2012 and 2013, the overused and classic Peyresourde, but instead another epic, this time comparatively underused. It is now 26 years since the Tour last visited the ski station of Superbagnères, which is altogether too long, especially given how regularly the town below hosts the race. It probably hasn't escaped the attentions of a lot of you that there are a handful of "classic" Tour climbs that I do still like; Madeleine is perhaps the most obvious in the Alps. Superbagnères is that climb in the Pyrenées. The first stage to finish here was in 1961, when Italian pure climber Imerio Massignan took the stage, a victory which underlined his triumph in the GPM that year. The following year it was won by the legendary Federico Bahamontes. After a nine-year absence the Tour returned in 1971; once more a legendary climber was triumphant, with José Manuel Fuente (a particular favourite of mine in the history of the sport) helping to cement the reputation of the climb as a plaything for the truly gifted climber. Eight years later, and Bernard Hinault was next to the summit; he was followed in 1986 by Greg Lemond, before in 1989, the last time the race visited the station, Robert Millar picked up his last win at the Tour by outsprinting Perico Delgado; further down the mountain, Laurent Fignon picked up vital seconds over Lemond that enabled him to take the maillot jaune in that epic and famous battle for the ages. Since then, the climb has lain dormant save for an occasional outing in the Volta a Catalunya (of which 1996 was the most notable.

This history is all well and good, Libertine, you might say, but we know the climb is legendary, and we miss it (if you aren't saying it's legendary and you miss it, you are wrong and you are misguided). If you're bringing it back, we need to talk about the climb itself. Very well then. As you can see from the climb profile, the beginning is fairly benign, save for a steep 500m ramp around 3km in. After that, it gets tough. A kilometre averaging 9% sets up an easier section, but even that easier section is interspersed with ramps of 12%. And some of the hardest ramps of all are at the very end. This is not a Javier Guillén comical gradients ascent; this is a long and medium-gradient climb. But it's not a Prudhomme tempo grinder either; it isn't consistent, and off the back of Port de Balès it's a dynamic double act that has never featured in the Tour, mainly as it was never possible while Superbagnères was being raced; now that the former climb is available, the latter is not paying for the privilege. This is a shame, and I am looking to rectify this. This is the only HC MTF of the race, and it's a worthy one.

Superbagnères climb:
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Superbagnères station:
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Stage 8: Terni - Perugia, 200 km

After a well-desverved rest day, the riders relocate from Abruzzu to Umbria. When looking at the profile of the stage, this looks like one for the breakaway specialists. 3 categorized climbs with 300-400 height meters of each, gives aggressive riders a chance to get away from the peleton. But the last 50 km are mostly flat, and the sprinter teams are will probably try to set up their captains for a mass sprint. The last few kms towards Perugia has a gentle climb, but not more tha 3-4 % at any point. This could go either way and both breakway riders, sprinters and puncheurs will be targeting this stage.

Map

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Profile

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Stage 9: Perugia - Assisi, 55 km ITT

The first ITT of this edition of the Giro. 55 km from Perugia to Assisi, the birthplace og Sankt Francis of Assisi. The ITT is mostly flat, but with som technichal parts, especially while leaving Perugia. But in the last 4 km to Assisi there is a 4 km, 5 % climb. Here there is a possibility to gain time if they have conserved any strength for the last few kms.

Map:

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Profile:

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Stage 10: Foligno - Monte Nerone, 221 km

Finally, it's time for the first MTF in the high mountains. Already, the stages to Etna and Roccaraso should have given som pointers on the form of the favorites of this Giro. This stage, however, has the potential to shake up the classification. It's probably one of two queen stages in this Giro.

The climbs of Nerone, Petrano and Catria in the Marche region is one of the few opportunites of back-to-back climbs in Italy outside the Alps and the Dolomites, but are rarely used in the Giro. A notable exception was the 2009 Giro where Carlos Sastre won a 7 hour stage finishing at Monte Petrano. This time the climbs are done from south beginning with Monte Catria, then Monte Petrano before stage finish at the hardest of them; Monte Nerone.

The stage starts in Foligno in Umbria and heads north into Marche. At the border between Umbria and Marche they pass the first climb of the day; Passo Cornello. After climbing La Morca, the first real test is Poggio San Romualdo which averages 7 % over almost 10 km. But we're still a long, long way from the finish, so it's not very likely that any of the favorites will make a move.

After Romualdo there is a flat section of 40 km before the finale. Starting with Catria first, followed by Petrano and finishing with Monte Nerone. Since there is 14 km, mostly flat, between the descent of Petrano and the start of the last climb, the favorites will probably wait until Nerone before they start attacking. But the last 12-13 km could be quite spectacular. The whole climb is 13 km and 7,6 %, but from km 2 to km 8 of the climb there is constantly 9 an 10 % gradient. With already 6 hours of cycling, it will definitively be a real challenge.


Climbs:
Passo Cornello (31 km): 8 km, 4 %
La Morca (53 km): 4,0 km, 6,7 %
Poggio San Romualdo (85 km): 9,9 km, 7,0 %
Monte Catria (151 km): 15,7 km, 5,8 %
Monte Petrano: (183 km): 8,7 km, 6,4 %
Monte Nerone: (221 km): 13,3 km, 7,6 %

Map of the last 200 km:
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Profile of the last 200 km:

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Stage 11: Gubbio - Rimini, 199 km

There isn't much to say about this stage. They start in Gubbio in the Marche region and rides towards the coast of the Adriatic sea. There are 3 uncategorized climbs between 50 and 100 km, but nothing especially difficult. The last 100 km to the popular seaside resort of Rimini are mostly flat. Since this is probably the last chance for the sprinters for some days, this will almost certainy end in a mass sprint.

Map:

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Profile:
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Stage 12: Rimini - Firenze, 182 km

Today, the riders will move across Italy from the east coast and to the scenic landscapes of Tuscany. The stage is perhaps the most typical stage for breakaways in this years Giro together with the Potenza stage. The last climb is too far from the finish to make a difference in the general classification, so most likeley the GC favorites will sit still in the peloton.


65 km: Monte Aquilone: 10 km, 5,3 %
103 km: Passo dei Mandrioli: 10,4 km, 6,3 %
144 km: Passo della Consuma: 15,6 km, 4,4 %

Map:

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Profile:

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Stage 13: Pistoia - Abetone, 170 km

This stage includes the climb the RCS should included in the upcoming Giro; namely San Pellegrino in Alpe/Passo di Pradaccio. Combining it with a stage finish in Abetone, is surprising this climb wasn't used during Zomegnan's reign as director of RCS. It terms of sheer toughness it's only climbs like Zoncolan, Mortirolo and Fineste that outranks San Pellegrino in Alpe.

In the first half of the stage, there are two second 2nd category climbs, but especially the first one to Piastre is tough with short sections over 15 %. Although, isn't until 132 km of the stage the action really starts. San Pellegrino in Alpe is 16,5 km with a gradient of 7,5 %, but there are sections that is a lot steeper. There is a stretch in the last third of the climb that averages 12 % km. The steepest section is 25 %. The climb will probably shatter the peloton into pieces. As for climbs like Mortirolo and Finestre, San Pellegrino in Alpe is followed by a considerably easier last climb to the finish in Abetone.

Climbs:

15 km: Piastre: 8,5 km, 7,3 %
93 km: Boveglio: 14 km, 4,4 %
148 km: San Pellegrino in Alpe: 16,7 km, 7,5 %
175 km (finish): Abetone: 12,1 km, 5,1 %

Map:

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Profile:

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Stage 14: La Spezia - Genova (Madonna della Guardia), 224 km

Again, it's time for one of my favorite type of stages; a long and hilly/medium mountain stage with a hilly finish ans a race time over 6 hours. There aren't nearly enough of these type of stages in the Grand Tours, and the last time we saw one of these in the Giro was back in 2010 with the 262 km stage to L'Aqulia.

This stage takes place in the Liguria regions, starting in La Spezia at the west coast. The first 90 km are fairly easy with a 9 km and not to steep climb to Passo del Bracco as the only real difficulty. The action starts with the longest climb of the day, to Passo del Portello. After descending this, there aren't many flat sections in the last 85 km of the stage, and the couple of sections that are seemingly flat, are rather false flats with 1-2-3 % gradient.

There are 5 categorized climbs in the last half and another two climbs that could have been categorized. The last climb of the day to the Sanctuary of Madonna della Guardia is also the toughest climb with several long sections of 9 and 10 %. Leonardo Piepoli won the stage here in 2007, a long and hilly stage similar to this one, and then there were huge time gaps for a climb not longer than 8 km. Expect action and a lot of tired riders here.

Climbs:
43 km: Passo del Bracco: 8,9 km, 4,7 %
107 km: Passo del Portello: 14,1 km, 6,0 %
142 km: Valico di Trensasco: 4,5 km, 7,1 %
167 km: Crocefieschi: 6,4 km, 4,6 %
175 km: Bastia: 2,3 km, 9,1 %
205 km: Passo della Bocchetta: 4,7 km, 6,1 %
224 km: Madonna della Guardia: 8,1 km, 7,5 %

Map of the last 200 km:

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Profile of the last 200 km:

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Stage 15: Genova - Savona, 181 km

A transistion stage with start and finish at the Liguarian coast. Although there are only 50 km along the coast line from Genova to Savona, the riders make a long loop inland to Piemonte and back again to Liguria. The are two categorized climbs, one being the Passo del Turchino used in Milan-San Remo. Turchino starts already after 20 km and could be a good place to form a breakaway group. With a lot of tired riders after two tough stages, there aren't very likely that the sprinter teams will work very hard for a mass sprint at this stage.

Map:

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Profile:

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