235km of racing, seven hours, 11 minutes and 54 seconds in the saddle for stage winner Carlos Sastre and eight hours and eight seconds for the riders in the final gruppetto that finished 48-14 behind.
Monday?s stage 16 was always going to be the toughest of the centenary Giro but the roasting heat (38 degrees at the bottom of the final climb and a road temperature of 48 degrees) turned it into a battle of survival for most of the 172 riders left in the race.
Every rider who made it to the summit finish overlooking the Marche countryside was tired and dehydrated but fortunately everyone made it inside the 65-minute time limit.
FROOME IN TOP 30 OVERALL
All the British riders made it home with Chris Froome again putting up a strong ride after going close to victory in Bologna on Saturday.
Froome was disappointed not to stay with the leaders on the final climb but made another important step in his career. He celebrated his 24th birthday on May 20 but was 25th on the stage, just 7-10 behind Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre.
Frome is 29th overall at 41-31 but should be encouraged to be just one place behind veteran Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni) and only five places from former best young rider Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia).
?It was a really hot stage and a really hard day. I think a lot of guys were suffering out there,? Froome told Cycling Weekly.
?I?m a little bit disappointed because I was hoping to be up there today. It would have been nice. But I?m completely spent, so I?ve no regrets, I couldn?t have given it any more.?
BRITS IN THE GRUPPETTO
Dan Lloyd (Cervelo) finished in the front gruppetto at 38-14, while Ian Stannard (ISD), Charly Wegelius (Silence), Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo), Ben Swift (Katusha) and Bradley Wiggins (Garmin) all finished in the second gruppetto at 48-14.
They were all dog tired and thirsty and grabbed drinks, towels and jackets before heading back down the climb to their team buses. Swift and Wiggins looked the best, with Stannard the worst. He struggled to take off his sweat-soaked jersey and could hardly talk. He found it difficult to even put on a jacket, but was helped by team mate Dario Cioni, who also escorted him down the descent.
Fortunately, Stannard and the other riders still in the Giro can enjoy the second rest day on Tuesday. After surviving more than two weeks of intense racing, they all deserve it.
|Giro d'Italia 2009 links|
Stage 16: Sastre wins stage to Monte Petrano
Stage 15: Bertagnolli gifted stage win by Cervelo mix-up
Stage 14: Gerrans solos to win
Stage 13: Cavendish takes his third Giro win and prepares to head home
Stage 12: Menchov storms to Giro TT win and race lead
Stage 11: Cavendish romps to second Giro stage win
Stage 10: Di Luca lays down the gauntlet
Giro rest day review (May 18)
Stage nine: Cavendish blitzes rivals to win in Milan
Stage eight: Siutsou makes it two in a row for Columbia-Highroad
Stage seven: Boasson Hagen takes treacherous stage
Stage six: Scarponi wins longest stage with big break
Stage five: Menchov wins mountain battle as Di Luca grabs the pink jersey
Stage four: Di Luca denies Soler on the line; Lovkvist takes pink jersey
Stage three: Cavendish loses pink jersey after being caught behind late crash
Stage two: Petacchi denies Cavendish the stage win
Stage one: Cavendish in pink as Columbia prove their point to Garmin
Millar climbs off and heads home from Giro
Basso discovers he has few friends at the Giro (stage 15)
Froome agonisingly close to stage victory (stage 14)
Cavendish quits the Giro d'Italia
Cheeky Cipo sneaks a ride in the Giro
Cavendish: His most important Giro win yet (stage 13)
Comment: Lance vs the press, some things never change
Menchov's first pink jersey (Stage 12)
Wiggins: 'I went too hard at the start' (Stage 12 TT)
Lance and Levi: Ready for Giro time trial
Cavendish: 'Today brought back memories of San Remo' (stage 11)
Is Di Luca trying too hard, too soon?
Wiggins loses time in the Giro (stage 10)
Armstrong and Basso say sorry for Giro protest
How are the Giro favourites doing?
Cavendish says 'I'm addicted to winning'
Riders stage go-slow protest during Giro stage in Milan
Cavendish cool before Milan sprint
No sympathy for Armstrong from Giro boss
Boasson Hagen celebrates his birthday early
Cavendish overjoyed for Boasson Hagen
Armstrong 'livid' at dangerous Giro stage
Astana riders wear faded kit in protest over unpaid wages
Armstrong sees Leipheimer in pink
Giro news round-up: 14 May
Wiggins: 'I can't keep smashing away on the climbs'
Wiggins eyes top 20 finish overall
Armstrong after Giro stage 5: 'That was hard'
Cavendish looking for Giro revenge
Armstrong happy with stage four performance
Lovkvist will fight to keep Giro lead
Giro could be last race for Armstrong's team
Vande Velde crashes out of Giro
Petacchi claims he didn't know of Cavendish crash
Cavendish struggles to find consolation in pink jersey
Petacchi: I've been working out how to beat Cav
I'm wearing pink on behalf of the team, says Cavendish
Wiggins ready to win Giro team time trial
Friday, May 8: Giro news round-up
Cavendish out to topple Garmin in Giro team time trial
Team time trial start times
Cycling Weekly's Giro d'Italia top ten prediction
Brits in Venice for Giro presentation
Armstrong overshadows overall favourites at Giro presentation
Armstrong confident of finding new sponsor for Astana
Armstrong working to save Astana team
Wiggins in top form for Giro
Garmin Slipstream kitted out for Giro opener
Dan Lloyd gets late Giro call-up
Armstrong's special Giro bikes unveiled
Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride
Cummings and Thomas not selected for Giro d'Italia
Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie
David Millar confirms he's riding in 2009 Giro
Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints
2009 Giro d'Italia to start in Venice
Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride
Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro
Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d'Italia route
Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey
2009 Giro d'Italia guide and features
Find the pink jersey competition
Giro d'Italia 2009: The Big Preview
British riders to have led the grand tours
CW's Giro top ten prediction
Brits in the Giro 2009
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d'Italia
2008 Giro d'Italia archive
Giro d'Italia 2008 coverage index - race reports, photos, results
From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Giro 2008: The final word on this year's race
Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special
Five days to go, what's in store?
Giro d'Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Giro d'Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Giro d'Italia 2008 preview
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Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.