It’s high mountains in this stage to Aprica, with five climbs including the mighty Mortirolo Pass. If Astana want to take the battle to the maglia rosa this week, they couldn’t start with a better stage.
Tuesday 26 May: Stage 16 – Pinzolo to Aprica, high mountain, 174km
What a way to start a stage after a rest day – the peloton starts climbing the Campo Carlo Magno from the off with a 8% gradient by the second kilometre. Although the average gradient is 6%, it won’t be a walk in the park. As soon as they get to the bottom of the descent, it’s straight back up for the cat 2 Passo del Tonale. It’s a long descent, giving the riders a chance to gather themselves for the small, cat 3 Aprica climb at around the 90km mark.
Then, it’s time for the showstopper of the stage, the Mortirolo. You may recall this was the climb that Thomas de Gendt fancied would lead him to glory in 2012 (and it did – at least in the list of legendary stage wins). At nearly 13km, this is a monster climb with the majority of it in double-digit gradients.
After the descent, they climb Aprica a second time for a summit finish. As tomorrow’s stage is flat apart for a cat 3 climb at the start, the podium contenders can leave it all out on the road today. With Astana almost certainly using the earlier climbs to try to exhaust Tinkoff-Saxo and isolate Alberto Contador, this has to be where Fabio Aru launches his attack. Or if not him, someone who fancies their chances for an epic stage win.
Link: Official race website
Header image: Aprica resort