Stage 20: Silandro to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, 210km, high mountains
Again the weather has sadly robbed us of one of the Dolomites’ most legendary climbs as the day’s route has had to be dramatically altered. Gone is the Passo Giau which, along with a couple of earlier cat 2 climbs, would have provided a testing approach to the concluding Tre Cime (‘three peaks’) di Lavaredo.
Instead we have a parcours which starts downhill and then turns inexorably skywards towards the summit finish. The cat 2 Tre Croci is the first of the three peaks: a gruelling, steady grind. This is followed by a short, sharp kick-up and then the climb to the final summit, a section of 3.9km which averages a brutal 12.2% with gradients as high as 18%.
The top step of the podium and the mountains competition are effectively decided now – Vincenzo Nibali will win the overall, Stefano Pirazzi the maglia azzurra – but the bottom two steps are far from certain, and there is still all to play for in both the points competition (can Nibali or Cadel Evans accumulate enough points to deny Mark Cavendish?) and the best young rider classification, where Rafal Majka leads Carlos Betancur by just two seconds.
The forecast for tomorrow is not promising. Hopefully the weather will be kind enough to allow both the stage and the climactic Tre Cime climb to be completed. This absorbing Giro deserves no less.
Link: Official website