The long-awaited mountain stages are finally upon us in the 2019 Giro d’Italia and they open with a bang.
Stage 12 marks the first category one climb of the race and it’s intimidating to say the least.
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The 158km stage, from Cuneo in northern Italy to Pinerolo near Turin, starts with undulating but uncategorised terrain that lasts for the opening 70km before the peloton turns its attention to the first real challenge.
After another 40km of gradually rising parcours, the race hits the foot of the first category climb to Montoso, a skiing destination town that sits 1,200 metres above sea level.
This climb, which makes its debut at the 2019 Giro d’Italia, is a brute – 8.9km-long, averaging 9.4 per cent gradient and with ramps upward of 10 per cent for more than six kilometres.
The Strava segment for the climb, from Bibiania to the summit in Montoso, has been attempted by 555 different riders, with the KoM being taken in 33-18, with an average power of 302watts.
But cresting the climb doesn’t mark the end for riders as they then face 32km to the line, starting with a steep 10km descent before the mostly flat run to the final.
One more test then faces the riders who make it to the front of the race – inside the last 2.5km there is a 500 metre long cobbled climb at 13.2 per cent, followed by a short descent and a flat 1km run to the line.
This complicated final 30km mean the Montoso climb could be a pivotal springboard to stage victor – and to anyone looking to nick time on the general classification – so watch out for fireworks later in the day.
It was 70 years ago when Coppi rode 192km alone to defeat his great rival Gino Bartali.
Coppi fought over five mountain peaks including the Col d’Izoard and the Sestriere, so the peloton will be relieved to see they face only one summit in the first real mountain day of the 2019 Giro d’Italia.