The Stelvio is used during stage 16 of the 2017 Giro on Tuesday, May 23, and is the highest point visited in the 2017 race at 2,758 metres. As such, it is named as this year’s Cima Coppi, with extra mountain points on offer for the rider that crests it first.
Snow has been an almost constant feature of the Stelvio’s previous appearances in the race, often with a wall of white either side of the twisting ribbon of asphalt to the summit.
From webcam pictures of the Stelvio Pass, it’s evident that there has been plenty of effort put into keeping the road clear, with bulldozers and other heavy equipment used to shovel the snow off the surface.
Heavy snow is forecast again for Thursday and Friday this week, so the work will have to continue ahead of the Giro’s arrival.
Current temperature readings indicate that it is only one degree at the Stelvio ski station.
Bad weather has affected the race’s use of the Stelvio in past editions. In 2013, stage 19 featuring the climb was shortened after heavy snowfall, with the climb removed from the course. It had previously been cancelled from the route in 1967, 1984 and 1988 due to snow.
Nairo Quintana took the overall 2014 Giro race lead in controversial style when he attacked on the descent of the Stelvio after several teams had understood that racing was neutralised due to the weather.
Quintana won the stage, and went on to win the race overall – and he ranks as one of the leading favourites for the 2017 win.