Giro stage 19 preview: STAGE CANCELLED

Stage 19: Ponte di Legno to Val Martello/Martelltal, 160km, high mountains

UPDATE 0840 BST: Today’s stage has been cancelled due to snow and extreme cold.

The Giro continues to be plagued by poor weather, as a result of which today’s stage has had to be rerouted at the expense of two of the race’s most iconic climbs, the Passo di Gavia and Passo dello Stelvio. Instead we have a longer route and two new climbs, the Passo del Tonale and Passo Castrin which, while not as high as those they replace, will still be extremely challenging in the anticipated cold conditions. The Tonale is ‘only’ classified as a cat 2 but is 8.3km long with an average gradient of 7.5%, rising to a maximum of 10%. The Castrin is deemed a cat 1 climb: similar in length to the Tonale at 8.4km but noticeably steeper with a 9.5% average including a section at 13%.

The final 55km is basically all uphill, culminating in the final 22km climb to the summit of Val Martello, which is making its Giro debut. It averages 6.4% but the steepest sections of 14% come towards the summit, either side of a lake-side plateau. Continue reading

Giro d’Italia preview: Five key stages

This year’s Giro d’Italia, which starts on Saturday, covers a total of 3,504km in 21 stages over 23 days. But which stages are most likely to provide the most spectacular racing and have the biggest impact on the final general classification?

Below we have selected five stages which we think will have the biggest impact on the battle for the maglia rosa. In a race designed to start small and build to a crescendo, unsurprisingly our chosen stages all take place in the final nine days. Continue reading