Pros gear down for a big day at the Giro d'Italia

With today’s queen stage of the Giro including 4500 metres of climbing, even the pros are looking for ways to ease the pain.

Today’s Giro d'Italia queen stage from Pinzolo to Aprica starts with two category two climbs: Campo Carlo Magno at 1681m then the Passo del Tonale at 1883m.

The climb up to Aprica at 1173m comes as a breather before 1300m climb to the monster Passo del Mortirolo at 1854m with some sections at 18%. And to finish things off, there’s the final climb back to Aprica, for a total ascent of 4500m in 177km.

Ultegra 11-32 cassette and rear mech on a Trek Factory Racing bike

Ultegra 11-32 cassette and rear mech on a Trek Factory Racing bike

You can tell a serious day’s climbing is scheduled when the pros start to ask for lower gears to get them over the hills. Shimano tweeted this photo of one of the Trek Factory Racing bikes set up with an Ultegra rear mech with an 11-32 cassette. With Dura-Ace only going up to 28 teeth maximum at the rear, the switch to Ultegra obviously offers that bit more wiggle room.

>>> Giro d'Italia stage 16 preview

Meanwhile Brent Bookwalter of BMC went even further, with a 53/36 chainset coupled to an 11-36 cassette, giving him a 1:1 lowest gear ratio. To make this set-up work, BMC have installed an MTB-style long derailleur cage on the Di2 rear mech.

36 tooth largest cog for a 1:1 gear ratio for Brent Bookwalter

36 tooth largest cog for a 1:1 gear ratio for Brent Bookwalter

With the stage starting with an 850m climb and rain at the start, several teams tweeted photos of the riders warming up. Tinkoff-Saxo seemed to have a tent outside their hotel...

Tinkoff-Saxo warming up pre-stage 16. Ivan Basso looks as if he's looking forward to the stage.

Tinkoff-Saxo warming up pre-stage 16. Ivan Basso looks as if he's looking forward to the stage.

While Giant Alpecin were using the shelter of their hotel’s eaves ...

Giant-Alpecin shelter from the rain at the start

Giant-Alpecin shelter from the rain at the start

And Orica-Greenedge were under the awning of their team bus.

Orica-Greenedge warm up by their team bus

Orica-Greenedge warm up by their team bus

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Paul Norman
Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.