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Race Design Thread

Page 337 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Stage 3: Campobasso - Chieti, 221 km:

First real test of this Giro, and it's a proper and long hilly stage with some real muritos towards the end. From the start in Campomasso they move northwards and through more typical medium mountain terrain. There are three categorized climbs and a couple of non-categorized the first 150 km of the stage. After 152 km, they reach the epic murito of Muro di Guardigrele. The categorized climb is 1,3 km at 11 %, but the murito part is only 600 m and over 22 %. Usually used as a stage finish, like in TA, but this time it's almost 70 km to the stage finish in Chieti and is mainly used to soften the rider's legs and reduce the peloton.

From Guardigrele they continue north and pass just east of tbe Lanciano/Blockhaus climbs. The next section is still hilly, but contains none categorized climbs. Just before 180 km, they reach the start of the final and extremely hilly last section. The last 43 km, there are 7 climbs and hardly a km of flat sections. The first couple of climbs are a bit easier and uncategorized. It gets tougher when reaching the outskirts of Chiet with about 31 km left. From here they do a loop around the town two times, starting with the steep climb to Chieiti - Sant'Anna, 2 km at over 2 % and where the steepest km is close to 12 %.

Map of final loop:
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They pass just east of the town, descend and loop back south towards the centre of Chieti, doing the first part of the final climb. Again the pass through the town, descend and then loop back north for the second ascent of the Sant'Anna climb, descend and then they final climb back to the centre of Chieti, which is a bit easier. The top of the final climb is reached about 1,5 km from the finish and the last part to the finish in the centre of Chieti is mostly flat.

The length, total amount of height meters and the steepness of the final climbs should make this a real cracker. If a GC contender explodes on the second ascent of Sant'Anna, there is still a fairly difficult climb to the finish, and the gaps could be substantial. This could be a stage creating bigger gaps than a more traditional medium difficult MTF in the first week of the Giro.

Climbs:
30 km: Pietracupa, 4,3 km, 5,6 %
64 km: Torrebruna, 11,8 km, 5,4 %
110 km: Montagnola: 2,8 km, 6,4 %
153 km: Muro di Guardigrele: 1,3 km, 11,1 %
192 km: Chieti - Sant'Anna, 2,1 km, 10 %
206 km: Fonte Pietra, 2 km, 8,4 %
213 km: Chieti - Sant'Anna, 2,1 km, 10 %
220 km: Chieti, 3 km, 7,5 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Stage 4: Pescare - Avezzano, 169 km

From Chieti, they have moves just northeast to the coast and start for stage 4 in Pescara. The stage generally moves in a southwestern direction the whole day, and is generally divided into three parts. An easy first third, a more hilly and difficult mid third and a flat and easy last third. A breakway will certainly form, which could gain some times over the gategorized climbs about halfway into the stage. The last categorized climb comes just after the halfway point. From there the continue a while in a hilly terrain before reaching the highest point with about 45 km left. From here there is about 15 km of downhill and 30 km of flat where the sprinter's teams can close the gap to the breakway and ensure a mass sprint. With a strong breakway group of solid roleurs, there should be a good chance they go all the way and avoid getting caught by the peloton.

Climbs:
76 km: Goriano Sicoli, 4,8 km, 9 %
87 km: Valido di Olmo di Bobbi, 7,3 km, 6,8 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Stage 5: Avezzano - Terminillo, 197 km

First high mountain stage and MTF of this Giro, and it's fairly long and tough Appennine stage. They start where they finished the day before, in Avezzano. From here they go northeast and start the first climb, to Ovindoli, after already 10 km. The next part is mostly flat, passing through L'Aquila which has been used as a stage finish several times, and continuing northwest until reaching the northern slopes of the Monte Terminillo massif about two thirds into the stage after 125 km. Here they start the climb to Sella Leonessa, the highest point of the road in massif. The top at just over 1900m is reached with about 60 km left.

They continue to descend the road they will climb towards the stage finish. They descend to the village of Vazia after about 157 km, shortly before arriving into the town of Rieti. From Vazia they turn off the main road to do a 22-23 km counter clockwise loop almost into Rieti, before heading back northeast to the main road towards Terminillo. The last categorized part is 15 km and the stage finish is just after the small resort of Plan di Valli and by the apartment complex of Rialto, where the climb has just started to flatten before the last section to Sella Leonessa. The length and difficulty of the final climb to Terminillo are among the 4-5 toughest climbs in the Apennines and should create some gaps in the GC.

The last climb is the part from Vazia to just before the end of the 1 % section after Plan de Valli.

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Climbs:
21 km: Ovindoli, 10 km, 5,4 %
108 km: Colle dei Calassi, 5,6 km, 5,4 %
137 km: Sella Leonessa, 12,5 km, 6,2 %
197 km: Terminillo, 15,3 km, 7,2 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Stage 6: Narni - Terni, 32 km ITT

First of two ITTs. This one only of medium length, but does contain some hilly terrain. From the start in Narni, they climb about 300 height meters to the highest point after 10 km. From here they descend and turn northeast towards the stage finish in Terni. There also a gentle hill in the last part, they climb about 100 height meters from 22 to 25 km, before descending and the flat last 4-5 km. Perhaps a ITT that would be very suited to Remco?

Map:
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Profile:

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Stage 7: Terni - Perugia, 170 km

A fairly easy stage entirely within the Umbria region. From the stage start in Terni, the peloton will zig-zag northwards through the Umbrian hillsides. There are two categorized climbs on the stage, both in the first half. The third hill after about 105 km is 5 km at 4 %, but not categorized. After that point the rest of the stage is fairly easy the last 65 km. No categorized climbs or major difficulties should make this one of few good possibilities in this Giro for the sprinters.

Climbs:
56 km: Forca del Serro, 9,3 km, 4,4 %
82 km: Cappella di Santa Rita, 5,6 km, 5 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Stage 8: Perugia - San Marino, 234 km

Moving into the second weekend of the Giro, and it's time for another massive medium mountain stage with 8 categorized climbs and a length of over 230 km. They start the same place as the finish the day before, Perugia. From here the whole day takes the riders north/slightly northeast. The first 60 km is more or less flat, before the climbing starts. The first climb to Bocca Trabaria is the longest climb of the day, but also the one with the lowest gradient. At the top they are leaving Umbria and for a short while will pass through the Marche region. They continue to scale an uncategorized climb where they reach the top after about 96 km and enter Tuscany.

After another climb to Cella di San Cristoforo, there are a longer descent and flat section before the perhaps toughest climb of the stage starts after about 135 km, to Monte Carpegna. Or more precisely Passo Cantoniera just south of Monte Carpegna. They are not using the narrow goat track through the forest used in TA this year. And from now on it's almost only up and down hills the last 80 km of the stage. First a few easier kms before scaling Passo San Marco. Then a descent to lower, but still hilly terrain just west of San Marino. After climb Montemaggio at 178 km, they are just outside San Marino, and are fairly close to the main road up to the small hilltop country.

If doing the main road up to San Marino, the stage would have been about 40 kms shorter and significantly easier. The climb is also fairly easy with 10 km at just over 5 % average gradient with the steepest kms being 7-8 %. Tough enough to have a decent medium mountain stage and a battle the last few kms, but not any more than that. So instead they loop around, first south and then east, San Marino and climb a more narrow and steep side road from the east. The categorized climb is 3,3 km and 8,1 % but the steepest part of 1,4 km and 10 %. They pass through the village of Murata and loop back to the west of San Marino and then climb the last part of the main road into the centre of the town. But istead of finishing there, they descend east to do the same loop one more time and add an extra 26 km to the race.

Climbs:
77 km: Bocca Trabaria, 14,4 km, 4,8 %
110 km: Cella di San Cristoforo, 6,7 km, 6,2 %
145 km: Monte Carpegna (Passo Cantoniera), 9,4 km, 6,4 %
162 km: Passo San Marco, 3,6 km, 6,4 %
178 km: Montemaggio, 4,2 km, 6,2 %
198 km: Murata, 3,3 km, 8,1 %
209 km: San Marino, 4,5 km, 6,7 %
224 km: Murata, 3,3 km, 8,1 %
234 km: San Marino, 4,5 km, 6,7 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Stage 9. San Marino - Bagno di Romagna, 185 km:

Yet another big medium mountain stage, and this time in the somewhat higher moutains in the central part of Emilia Romagna and Toscana. Which means longer climbs and higher mountains and a more "true" medium mountain stage than the stages to Chieti and San Marino which were more hilly stages.

The small village Bagno di Romagne have hosted Giro stages two times the last few years, both in 2017 and 2021. Both times the stage started in Toscana and approached from the west, doing the trio of Calla - Consuma - Carnaio. In 2017 they did a longer loop west to add Fumaiolo in addition, but that perhaps made the finish a bit easier since both the approach to Fumailo and the descent made for a fairly long easier sections. I feel that the area around Bagno di Romagna could be utilized a bit better and create a tougher stage.

From San Marino they descend towards lower terrain and continue with about 30 km of flat terrain before the climbing starts. First a few km of false flat, before the categorized climb to Fumailo starts. After the top they will ride they descend the same way as the 2017 stage, but instead of heading into Bagno after reaching the valley floor in San Piero, they now go the opposite way of the last two stages to Bagno, first climbing Carnaio and then Calla which is reached with about 60 km left. Now they are obviously heading in the wrong direction, away from the stage finish, so they need to turn back in the right direction agian.

They do that after about 140 km and passing through the village of Stia. Here they turn west and start the toughest climb of the stage, to Valico del Prato. The top is reached after 155 km and with 30 km left. A short descent follows before a short and uncategorized climb to Prato alla Penna, then a new descent before the last climb to Passo del Mandrioli. The top of this is reached with about 12 km left, and before the descend more or less directly into Bagno di Romagna.

Climbs:
58 km: Monte Fumaiolo, 10,4 km, 6 %
86 km: Passo del Carnaio, 4,1 km, 7,5 %
125 km: Passo della Calla, 11,7 km, 6,4 %
155 km: Valico del Prato, 10,4 km, 7 %
173 km: Passo del Mandrioli, 5,3 km, 5,9 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Valico del Prato is Monte Camaldoli (they have placed the marker on the map wrongly at Eremo di Camaldoli):

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The descent down the little climb afterwards is untarmacked at some points, but I don't see that as a problem for the Giro to need to tarmac a few roads.
 
Stage 10: Gemona del Friuli - Lienz, 186 km

The first rest day has passed and the riders have transfered northeast to the Friuli region. And this and the following couple of stages is really the only "twist" of this Giro, namely a detour into Austria. Usually, when there are big cycle races in Austria, the by far most frequently used climbs is Kitzbühler Horn, Grossglockner and Rettenbachferner. A few other have been used, among the Villacher Alpenstrasse, but there are a lot of untapped potentital. I thought of doing a stage using Zillertaler Höhenstrasse, but instead decided to do a couple of stages in Kärnten and Steinermark.

From the start in Gemona in the northern part in Friuli, the peloton heads directly north towards Austria. After passing Pontebba at about 40 km, they start the climb to Passo del Pramallo/Nassfeldpass, where the top of the pass is at the border to Austria. There is also a ski resort at the top of the pass which I uses as a MTF of a big Friulian mountain stage in one of my earlier versions of the Giro. They descend to Kötschach and turn west into Lesachtal where they start the very long and gentle climb to Kartischer Sattel. The distance up the valley is over 40 km, but the avearge gradient is only 2 %, so it's not a categorized climb. On the way they pass the village of Obertilliach where the Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen lived for many years.

After descending from Kartischer Sattel, they turn east into Pustertal for the final and more decisive section of the stage. Here they could potentially had a killer last part with several short, but extremely steep climbs. They could have climbed the 4 km, 12 % climb to Vergein, decended to the valley and do the steepest ascent to Bannberg of 4 km, 10 %, descend and have about 15 km of flat before the 3 km, 12 % climb to Stronach that was used in Tour of the Alps this year. When they are not doing that, it may be because of there are harder things to come in the following days.

So instead they climb the first part of Pustertaler Höhenstrasse from the west, where 2,3 km at 8,4 % is categorized before descending to the valley floor and climb to Bannberg. The categorized part is 6,8 km at 6,5 %, but the first 3 km is almost 9 %. After descending they could have headed straight into Lienz, but thet first ride a bit up the valley northwest of the town before climbing 1,5 km at 10 % to Oberdrum and descend the last 4 km to the stage finish in Lienz.

Climbs:
53 km: Passo del Pramallo, 12,3 km, 7,8 %
148 km: Goll, 2,3 km, 8,4 %
169 km: Bannberg, 6,8 km, 6,5 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Stage 11: Villach - Turracher Höhe, 173 km

For the start of stage 11, the riders have moved a bit east, to Vllach where they start what is perhaps one of three queen stages. From Villach, they head northwest, climbing to Glanzer Höhe after about 20 km and passing of the eastern side of Millstättersee. For a while they continue north along the main highway towards Salzburg, before turning east at Kremsbruücke and heading up the valley towards the first big climb of the day, Schönfeld Pass. The top of the pass is reached after about 80 km where they continue to descend to the north and down to Lungau. After a short flat section, they turn south in St.Michael im Lungau and start the very steep climb to Katschberghöhe, about 5 km at almost 12 %.

At the top of the pass they pass through the small resort that are squeezed in at the few hundred flat(ish) meters at the top of the pass before descending to the south towards Kremsbrücke. Here they again turn east and the first 10 km of the climb to Eisenthalhöhe is he same section they used on the way to Schönfeld pass. But instead of continuing up the valley to that pass, they turn right at Innerkrems and head south for the last part of the climb to Eisenthalhöhe. After a short descent they continue to climb Schiestelscharte before a longer 13 km descent which is immidiately followed by the last climb of the stage, the MTF to Turracherhöhe.

The climb isn't very long, just under 7 km, but is steep and after several other tough climbs earlier on the stage, things could really blow apart here if the stage is ridden hard. Riders that are tired already at the start of the last climb could lose minutes in these steep sections. The top of the climb and sprint for climbing points is just at the edge of the plateau at Turracherhöhe. The riders continues about 1,5 km past the small lake and finish at the other side of the resort/village.

Climbs:
25 km: Glanzer Höhe, 4,9 km, 6,3 %
80 km: Schönfeld Pass: 13,6 km, 5,9 %
110 km: Katschberghöhe, 5,1 km, 11,8 %
140 km: Eisenthalhöhe, 17,5 km, 6 %
153 km: Schiestelscharte, 6,5 km, 7,2 %
171 km: Turracherhöhe, 6,6 km, 10,2 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Stage 12: Klagenfurt - Splimbergo, 199 km

A typical transistional stage, probably most suited for breakway riders. From the start in Klagenfurt they head first south, then west and approaches the border climb to Italy after about 54 km. The climb back into Italy is much easier than the climb where they left the country, only about 7 km at 7 %. After entering Italy and descending into the valley, they continue south and east towards the stage finish of the day, mostly taking the valleys instead of crossing over the mountains. The fairly gentle climb to Sella Nevea reached just before 100 km is uncategorized and the next 50 km is descend and flat.

Just before 150 km the main difficulty of the stage starts, the climb to Sella Chianzutan. The top is reached with about 40 km left, which could leave enough time and distance to close gaps to attackers and breakawak groups and possibly set up a sprint for a reduced peloton. But most likely this will end up with a win from a breakway group.

Climbs:
61 km: Wurzenpass, 7,3 km, 7,3 %
158 km: Sella Chianzutan, 11,5 km, 5,5 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Stage 13: Vittorio Veneto - Bressanone, 196 km

Another transitional stage looping around the Dolomites to set up things up for the big mountain stages in the third weekend of the Giro. From the start in Vittorio Veneto, the peloton moves north along the eastern outskirts of the Dolomites. The route very gradually climbs along the way, but nowhere near enough for anything to be a categorized climb. Just before halfway on the stage, the main difficulty of the stage starts, the climb to Passo di Monte Croce. It is over 20 km long, but never especially difficult or steep. The steepest section is a 2 km long, 6 % gradient.

After descending from Monte Croce, they pass through the ski resort of Toblac, frequently used in the cross country World Cup/Tour de Ski. Here they make a short detour from the main road to climb the murito called Passo Dobbiaco. Only 1,2 km long, but almost 13 %. After descending back to the main road in the Puster Valley. From here the last 65 km to the stage finish in Bressanone is mostly easy. It should provide a good opportunity for the sprinters to win a stage after several stages where there chances have been small.

Climbs:
106 km: Passo di Monte Croce, 21,1 km, 3,5 %
124 km: Passo Dobbiaco, 1,2 km, 12,8 %

Map:
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Profile:

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Stage 14: Merano - Karersee/Carezza, 200 km

Second weekend, and it's time for a proper monster stage in the northern Dolomites. I've sometimes wondered why the steep climbs around some of the biggest towns in Trentino isn't used more. It would be very easy both create a Merano-Bolzano stage with a descent finish or vice versa. Or a Bolzano-Bolzano stage. Or even a Bolzano - Merano 2000 stage with a MTF above Merano. I considered several variants before creating this stage. The closest alternative was a Bolzano descent finish after Costalunga and Aune di Sopra, but decided on the chosen solution after realizing that the small resort of Karersee just below the top of Passo Costalunga could be used in a good way as a stage finish with a two-step climb of Obergummer followed by the last section to Karersee.

The stage starts in Merano where they more or less immediately start to climb to Hafling, a village on the way to Merano 2000. But they are not going there now, but instead continuing south on a mountain road above the valley of Etschtal. After over 20 km with mostly easier terrain and some small bumps up and down, there is a descent to the valley where they pass through the village of Terlano. They continue up the valley for about 15 km towards Merano, before turning left to go south and start the climb to Passo delle Palade, the longest climb of the stage. The top is reached after about 76 km and is followed by a descent and then immidiately a new climb to Passo della Mendola. The top of this is reached exactly halfway on the stage, from where they descend to Bolzano.

They continue by passing through Bolzano and into Sarntal, which eventually leads to Passo Pennes. But they are not going the whole way there. After about 15 km up the valley, they turn right to do the western approach to Aune di Sopra. The small hamlet in the hills above Bolzano is reached with about 55 km left. A few flat(ish) km follows before a descent to the valley just in the outsikrts of Bolzano.

Here they continue about 6 km up Valle Isarco before turning off at Prato all'Isarco with 28 km left to start the last section of the day, the two-step climb Obergummer-Karersee. The first 7 km of the climb is the hardest with about 9 % average gradient. Any big attacks should take place already here. The last kms are easier, 6-7 % and only 2 % the last km to the pass. The next 8 km is mostly rolling terrain and slightly downhill to the village of Nova Levante. From here the last pasrt is the categorized climb of 7,6 km at 6,8 % followed by a 1 km flat section to the stage finish at the resort at Karersee. The stage has about 5000 height meters of categorized climb and should be one of the big GC stages of this Giro. Big attacks already at the first, steep part of Obergummer could create carnage and some big gaps among GC contenders.

Climbs:
12 km: Hafling, 10,8 km, 8,8 %
76 km: Passo delle Palade, 17,7 km, 6,8 %
100 km: Passo della Mendola, 9,1 km, 4,2 %
145 km: Aune di Sopra, 11,8 km, 7,3 %
185 km: Obergummer, 12,3 km, 8,1 %
199 km: Karersee/Carezza, 7,6 km, 6,8 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Stage 15: Bolzano - Selva di Gardena: 205 km

Last stage of the second week and before the second and last restday, and it is a classic Dolomite queen stage. Possibly the stage in this Giro with best chance to create big gaps in the GC. And it also contains a combo I've been waiting for in the Giro for many years, Fedaia followed by Pordoi or Sella and a descent finish to Canazei/Selva.

The stage starts in Bolzano and heads south towards Trento, before turning left after about 20 km to start the climb to Lugano and head into the heart of the Dolomites. After the top of San Lugano, there is a short descent into the Fiemme valley where they gradually climb towards the highest passes in the Dolomites. The next climb starts after about 57 km at Predazzo where they turn right and head into the road that leads to Passo Rolle and Valles. At Panveggio they turn left to the last steep section to Valles instead of continuing straight ahead for Passo di Rolle. The last 4 km of the climb is by far the hardest part with and average gradient of over 9 %. After Valles, they do a short descent before starting the climb to San Pellegrino, a short but relatively steep climb.

The top of San Pellegrino is reached after about 90 km, and is followed by a descent back into the Fiemme valley, a bit further up than when they started the climb to Valles earlier. Now they continue up the end of the valley, to Canazei, where they start the climb to one of the most classic Giro climbs, Passo Pordoi. The top of Pordoi is reached with about 75 km left, and is followed by a descent to Arabba and a about 15 more kms with flat or gentle descent to reach Caprile, where the finale of the stage starts. First with the climb to the legendary Fedaia, where the last half of the climb is one of the most dreaded sections in cycling.

The MTF to Fedaia this year showed that it is possible to create massive gaps if riddern hard. The last 5 km is over 11 % and this will certainly be felt after 175 km and a massive stage the day before. But they are not finished yet. First a short descent to Canazai before the last 10 km to Passo Sella. Isolated a fairly tough climb, but it could be real carnage on a stage like this. The riders will probably have little time to enjoy one of the most spectacular views and sceneries of any climb in Europe. From the top of Sella there is a 11 km descent to the famous ski resort in Val Gardena and the stage finish.

Climbs:
35 km: San Lugano, 14,4 km, 5,4 %
77 km: Passo Valles, 20,4 km, 4,9 %
90 km: Passo San Pellegrino, 5,7 km, 8,9 %
130 km: Passo Pordoi, 11,3 km, 6,4 %
170 km: Passo Fedaia, 12,9 km, 7,9 %
194 km: Passo Sella, 10,6 km, 7,3 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Stage 13: Vittorio Veneto - Bressanone, 196 km

Another transitional stage looping around the Dolomites to set up things up for the big mountain stages in the third weekend of the Giro. From the start in Vittorio Veneto, the peloton moves north along the eastern outskirts of the Dolomites. The route very gradually climbs along the way, but nowhere near enough for anything to be a categorized climb. Just before halfway on the stage, the main difficulty of the stage starts, the climb to Passo di Monte Croce. It is over 20 km long, but never especially difficult or steep. The steepest section is a 2 km long, 6 % gradient.

After descending from Monte Croce, they pass through the ski resort of Toblac, frequently used in the cross country World Cup/Tour de Ski. Here they make a short detour from the main road to climb the murito called Passo Dobbiaco. Only 1,2 km long, but almost 13 %. After descending back to the main road in the Puster Valley. From here the last 65 km to the stage finish in Bressanone is mostly easy. It should provide a good opportunity for the sprinters to win a stage after several stages where there chances have been small.

Climbs:
106 km: Passo di Monte Croce, 21,1 km, 3,5 %
124 km: Passo Dobbiaco, 1,2 km, 12,8 %

Map:
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Profile:

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The Murito is actually called Haselsberg (Hazels Berg because of the hazel trees that used to grow on that side of the mountain between Innichen and Toblach) and one of my training climbs at home. It's actually 1.3km at 13.6 with a section at 22% and the castle that is near the first and only hairpin there's the castle Valcastello, built by the noble Acquarone family, who still owns it today (not related to that Acquarone, as far as I know).
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In 1968 the count Cesare d'Acquadrone was killed in Acapulco, he was shot five times. His mother in law confessed the crime and was convicted, but the rumour has always been that she took the blame for her daughter.
https://www.mexicanist.com/l/everything-is-history-and-speaking-of-murderous-women/
 
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Stage 16: Pistoia - Castelnuovo ne Monti, 178 km

The seceond rest day is over, the riders have transfered from the Dolomites to Toscana, and the last week of this Giro is underway. I was tempted to call this a big medium mountain stage, but it is really more a high mountain stage in the Tuscan Appennines. This time I don't use the San Pellegrino in Alpe - Abetone combo like in my last Giro version. But still some of the longer and tougher climbs in this region is used, and the cumulative effect could provide some action and gaps.

From the start in Pistoia, head north and start the first climb to La Piastre after only 5 km. A breakway will certainly form already here. After the top, there is a short flat section before a descent to La Lima, where the second climb of day, to Abetone, starts. All the three following climbs are fairly similar in length and gradient, 15-20 km and just over 5 %. And they are mostly gradual with no really steep sections, the steepest sections are only 7-8 %.

After Abetone, they turn south to do Passo delle Radici, an easier pass parallell to San Pellegrino in Alpe. After the descent to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, they turn northwest for a 15 km long false flat section before the categorized climb to Passo di Pradarena starts. Another long, but not to steep climb. The descent is in two steps with a flat section in the middle, before crossing the river of Secchia, after which they immediately starts the last climb towards the stage finish. The top of the climb is reached about 3 km before the finish and the last part is a gentle decent into the village of Castelnuovo ne'Monti, nestled high up in the Tuscan Appennines.

Climbs:
14 km: La Piastre, 8,6 km, 7,1 %
49 km: Abetone, 16,9 km, 5,4 %
75 km: Passo delle Radici, 14,4 km, 5,2 %
141 km: Passo di Pradarena, 19,6 km, 5,4 %
175 km. Castelnuovo ne Monti, 5 km, 6,3 %

Map:
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Profile:
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Stage 17: La Spezia - Savona, 192 km

This stage may be the second last chance for the sprinters until the final stage to Milano. From the Tuscan mountains, the peloton have moved down to the Mediterranen for the stage start in La Spezia. From the start they move immediately into hilly terrain along the villages of Cinque Terre. There is a big chance a breakaway will form during the first two climbs in the first 22 km. After a shorter section up in the hills, they descend back towards the sea and start the toughest and longest climb of the stage after passing through the village of Levanto. The top of this is reached at 53 km and is followed by another descent down to the sea again.

After passing through Sestri Levantea at 75 km, the most of the rest of the stage is easy and should pave way for a mass sprint. The only difficulty of some kind is encountered when they reach Genova, and loop around the city instead of passing through. To do this they climb to Valico Trensasco before turning west and descending back down to the sea just west of Genova. The last 40 km after this is mainly flat only with a couple of short climbs of around 1k. The stage finish in Savona is not very technical when the route heads more or less straight into the town without any sharp turns or bends.

Climbs:
23 km: Case Pianca, 4,4 km, 7,4 %
53 km: Colle di Gualtarola, 10,1 km, 6 %
133 km: Valico di Trensasco, 4,2 km, 8 %

Map:
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Stage 18: Alassio - San Remo, 58 km ITT

Second ITT of this Giro, and it is in familiar terrain. The riders have moved from Savona and down the coastline to Alassio for the start of this stage. Here they will continue down the coast with short detours from the coastal road to do some very known climbs from Milan-San Remo and Trofeo Laigueglia. First, just after leaving Alassio, they climb to Colle Micheri, often the decisive point in Trofeo Laigueglia. After descending, the route continues down the coast After 27 km, they cross Capo Berta which is uncategorized in this race. After 31 km the climb to Cipressa starts and is quickly followed by the climb to Poggio, both and especially the latter with some tricky descents. The stage finish is as in MSR just after Poggio, on Via Roma in the centre of San Remo.

Climbs:
5 km: Colla Micheri, 1,8 km, 7,2 %
37 km: Cipressa, 5,7 km, 4 %
53 km: Poggio, 3,6 km, 3,8 %

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Stage 19: San Remo - Pratonevoso, 177 km

Penultimate mountain stage, and it's a stage both using some never before used climbs in the Ligurian Alps and a fairly typical and not to difficult MTF of Pratonevoso. The latter was on my list of MTFs/stage finishes that would be used for a typical GT designed for diesel climbers. When I was revising the design I considered removing it completely, but instead decided it could be combined with the previous day's ITT to San Remo and then using some new climbs in Liguaria never used before on the way to Pratonevoso. By this it would be a much tougher stage than the last times the climb had been used as a MTF. In 2018 it was a monoclimb stage and in the 2008 Tour only Agnello was used before with a long flat section between.

The stage starts where the From the start in San Remo, the climbing starts more or less immediately. The first part from San Remo is uncategorized, but is a 8 km, 4 % climb followed by about a 5 km flat section before the categorized part to Monte Ceppo starts. From this point the next 80 km is only up or down with close to no flat sections. Ceppo is the longest climb of the stage, but only a short section is steeper than 6-7 %. After the descent to Molina di Triora, the steepest climb to Passo di Teglia follows directly and then Colle di Nava on a much wider road than the really narrow climb to Teglia.

The top of Nava is reached after about 95 km, and followed by a 20 km very gentle descent where they also leave Liguria and the Piemonte. After about 117 km the climb to Colla di Casotto starts. The top of this is with 48 km left, and then some easier terrain awaits while they are closing in on the MTF to Pratonevoso. Here the terrain is more hilly than mountainous. After descending from the small village of Frabosa Soprana, the MTF to Pratonevoso starts. Although not very tough, the number of height meters earlier on the stage and the fact that there is only one mountain stage after this should encourage attacks and make it a more action-packed stage than the times it has been used in the Giro or the Tour.

Climbs:
34 km: Monte Ceppo, 19,4 km, 6,1 %
61 km: Passo di Teglia, 11,4 km, 8,2 %
95 km: Colle di Nava, 10,6 km, 6,3 %
129 km: Colla di Casotto, 12 km, 6,4 %
159 km: Frabosa Soprana, 3,9 km, 5,7 %
177 km: Pratonevoso, 12,6 km, 7,4 %

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Stage 20: Cuneo - Pinerolo, 233 km

Last mountain stage and it is a variant of the classic 1949 Cuneo - Pinerolo stage. That time it was a bit longer and they used Maddalena and Vars instead of Agnello and did not use Pramartino in the end. In the later years they have used the same start and finish a couple of times, but never entered France and returned to Pinerolo. The best version was in 2009 when they rode a very long 262 km stage which included Monceniso, Sestriere and the other steeper side of Pramartino. In 2019 they had a very underwhelming stage where the only big climb was Montoso. The closest to a stage like this would have been the Alba-Sestriere stage in 2020, but we never got to see that due to the crazy French and their covid-regulation.

So this time I thought it would be a suitable finish to this Giro. And since the two first climbs and especially the first is by far the hardest, very early attacks or at least a solid increase in pace would probably be necessary to greate big gaps on the stage. Agnello should be well-suited for that with a very high altitude pass and the last 8,5 km at about 10 %. Followed by an other tough and high altitude climb to Izoard the peloton/favorite group should be very small when they descend and pass Briancon to head back to France. New attacks could be possible on the way to Sestriere and on the last cat 2 climb to Pramartio. Many riders are bound to be very tired at this point and it should be possible to open big gaps if there are top GC contenders with a lot of energy left.

Climbs:
83 km: Colle dell'Agnello, 24,1 km, 6,4 % - Cima Coppi
122 km: Col d'Izoard, 13,9 km, 7 %
154 km: Col d'Montgenevre, 7,5 km, 6,2 %
175 km: Sestriere, 11,2 km, 6,1 %
225 km: Pramartino, 6,4 km, 6 %

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Stage 21: Asti - Milano, 160 km

A fairly standard last stage where they have moved eastwards from Pinerolo to the stage start in Asti. From here they do some minor hills in the first 30 km where a breakway should form. From here it's more or less flat the rest of the stage. They reach the central part of Milano after about 125 km where they do six loops in the central parts of the city before they finish in the centre of the city, very proably with a mass sprint.

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Giro d'Italia v5 summary:

Stage 1: Foggia - San Giovanni Rotondo, 222 km
Stage 2: San Severo - Campobasso, 157 km
Stage 3: Campobasso - Chieti, 221 km
Stage 4: Pescara - Avezzano, 169 km
Stage 5: Avezzano - Terminillo, 197 km
Stage 6: Narni - Terni, 32 km ITT
Stage 7: Terni - Perugia, 170 km
Stage 8: Perugia - San Marino, 234 km
Stage 9: San Marino - Bagno di Romagna, 185 km
Stage 10: Gemona del Friuli - Lienz, 186 km
Stage 11: Villach - Turracherhöhe, 173 km
Stage 12: Klagenfurt - Splimbergo, 199 km
Stage 13: Vittorio Veneto - Bressanone, 191 km
Stage 14: Merano - Carezza/Karersee, 200 km
Stage 15: Bolzano - Selva di Gardena, 205 km
Stage 16: Pistoia - Castelnovo ne'Monti, 178 km
Stage 17: La Spezia - Savona, 192 km
Stage 18: Alassio - San Remo, 58 km ITT
Stage 19: San Remo - Pratonevoso, 177 km
Stage 20: Cuneo - Pinerolo, 233 km
Stage 21: Asti - Milano, 160 km

Total: 3739 km
Cima Coppi: Colle dell'Agnello, 2744 m
5 HC climbs (Terminillo, Turracherhöhe, Fedaia, Agnello, Izoard), 17 cat 1 climbs, 26 cat 2 climbs

4 High MTF (Terminillo, Karersee, Turracherhöhe, Pratonevoso)
2 Medium MTF/HTF (San Marino, Chieti)
4 descent finishes (Selva di Gardena, Pinerolo, Bagno di Romagna, Castelnovo ne'Monti )
90 km of ITT
3 hilly stages
6 flat/mostly flat stages

Final notes:
In total a fairly big Giro with a fair amount of ITT, a lot of height meters and many stages (possibly as many as 12) that could have an impact on the GC. The early murito stage to Chieti and a big MTF to Terminillo sets the standard. The medium mountain stages to San Marino, Bagno di Romagna and perhaps Castelnovo ne'Monti would possibly not create the biggest gaps in the GC, but should at least be big stages for breakaway action, especially the latter two. The biggest and possibly most decisive stages are in the second week with the steep MTF to Turracher Höhe and the two brutal Dolomite stages. Especially the Selva di Gardena stage could be massive if they big attacks started already on Fedaia.

The mountain stages of the last week have a bit easier profile, but with the long ITT on stage 18, it could/should be possible with big attaks on both the Pratonevoso and the Pinerolo stage. Especially the latter could be epic if top GC contenders are forced to attack early after losing time on the ITT to San Remo. Also a very classic Giro route. This version has most elements of what a big Giro should have. A couiple of big MTFs, a very steep MTF to Turracherhöhe after a lot of height meters earlier on the stage, a sort of a big/small climb combo with Obergummer/Karersee and a couple of big descent finishes where early attacks are very possible. In addition to big medium mountain stages and a murito stage.

I'm also satisfied with using a lot of the bigger climbs in the Apennnines both in Emillo-Romagna and Toscana and Liguria. Although no Blockhaus, Catria/Nerone or San Pellegrino in Alpe, a lot of the higher and longer climbs in the Apennines are used in this Giro. The only thing lacking is one of the really big/tough big/small climb combos and possibly a sterrato stage. But that may come in a later version. I now have one more version which I have already created but not posted. It is a kind of an ultimate version for my principles of Giro design. I will try to find time to post it in the coming weeks.
 
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