When Sunday May 25
To Plan di Montecampione
Category High mountains
This may be one of the longest days of the Giro, but 197 of the 217km serve merely as a warm-up for the spectacular showdown on the Montecampione ski resort.
The route encompasses pan-flat roads as it heads eastwards through the outskirts of Milan and Bergamo, before undertaking the daunting 20km climb to the finish. Such a contrast between the first few hours over flat terrain and the steep finale could make for some surprise casualties, as some riders find it difficult to adjust to such drastic changes in terrain without having climbs earlier in the day to warm themselves up.
The Montecampione is not only long but also relentlessly steep. The gradient hits eight per cent on the lowest slopes, and reaches 12 per cent over a series of leg-sapping hairpin bends. There is some respite when it eases off to just under four per cent, but this section is merely the calm before the storm, as the final five kilometres to the finish consist of an incline of 8.7 per cent.
The Montecampione is, in its own right, one of the most difficult climbs of the race, though riders on a bad day will at least have the consolation of not having to haul themselves up any other mountains. Its name is apt, too — whoever wins today will look a likely candidate to be crowned campione of the Giro next week.
Did you know?
This stage remembers Pantani’s win on the Montecampione in the latter stages of the 1998 Giro. Riding with his closest GC rival Pavel Tonkov, the Italian — worried that his slender lead would not be enough going into the final time trial — attacked and went clear with 3km to go, all but winning the Giro.