When Tuesday May 26
Impact on GC 5/5
Where are we?
The Mortirolo Pass has become a mainstay of the Giro since its introduction in 1990, and was the launchpad for Thomas de Gendt’s extraordinary win on the penultimate stage of the 2012 Giro, that almost saw him steal the pink jersey from under Ryder Hesjedal and Joaquim Rodríguez’s noses.
What’s on the route?
What isn’t, more like. After a rest day to recharge the batteries, the Giro makes a spectacular return with this year’s blockbuster stage, which promises action from start to finish and glamorous stars everywhere in the shape of high mountain passes.
The first of the day’s five summits — the Campo Carlos Magno — is tackled right from kilometre zero, and is immediately followed by the equally difficult Passo del Tonale. A long descent is followed by the first of two ascents up the Passo Aprica, with the mighty Mortirolo in between.
Despite hosting the stage finish, modest gradients on the Aprica, averaging little over three per cent, mean it’s the Mortirolo climb that is likely to be the star, and prompt the beginning of the latest chapter in this year’s GC storyline.
Lance Armstrong once described it as “the hardest climb I’ve ever ridden” (although that was before he faced the metaphorical mountain of rebuilding his post-confession public image), and it’s easy to see why — its gradient rarely dips below double digits, and goes on for a whole 12.8km. The race should explode on these slopes, and set up a thrilling finale.