I hope the riders slept well last night, because the Giro neither gives an inch nor waits for the frail. Having spent much of the week with the threat of this mountain range looming over them, today is most definitely D-Day for the peloton, certainly now that the GC has been shaken up again in yesterday’s time trail. The stage is set for a showdown in the high mountains of the Dolomites.
Sunday 24 May: Stage 15 – Marostica to Madonna di Campiglio, high mountains, 165km
If we look at the stages coming in this final week today isn’t the longest or even the most leg breaking. Performances today are all about how well the riders can recover and we could certainly see some cracks start to appear.
The first of the three big climbs, the category two La Fricca, comes after only 50km of racing and will most certainly see the maglia azzurra contestants come to the fore on the 10.5km ascent. The riders are then on to a swooping descent and 60 kilometres of up and down before they set themselves up for the Passo Daone. This second climb is the toughest of the three ascents, 8.4 kilometres averaging at a tad over 9%, and section towards the top at 14%. It’s going to cause splits, and we may see those climbers hunting a stage win blast off the front here.
There’s a steep, fast descent from the summit, and then it’s just the final push for the line. Hah! except the line happens to be atop the Madonna di Campiglio. It’s a longer climb at 13.3 kilometres at a relatively moderate 5.6% average. However, the last two kilometres contain a real sting in the tail with a section at 12%. I expect the win to come from a very fast climber – maybe Senor Betancur – but I’m betting the GC guys will save themselves for this last push. Get the Giro snacks in, it’s going to be an exciting ride.
Link: Official race website