We’ve had a few tough ascents so far in the Giro d’Italia, but we’ve not experienced the true mountain stages that the race is famous for just yet.
As the race heads north the number of climbs on the route increases and the less the sprinters look forward to the stages. Three of the six stages before the next rest day are over 200km in length and there are 16 categorised climbs to take in between now and Sunday.
The sprinters will have their fun on stage 12, but week two belongs to the climbers and here are five of the toughest tests they will face this week, including a mountain time trial on stage 15.
Forcella Mostaccin (stage 11)
It’s by no means the longest climb in the race at just shy of three kilometres in length, but coming at the end of a pan flat stage the Forcella Mostaccin climb could split the peloton.
With a maximum gradient of 16 per cent and an average of over 10 per cent for the last kilometre of the climb we could see a few attacks go off the front on this climb.
The race still has around 25km to go from the top, but the rolling nature of those final kilometres means it almost certainly won’t be a bunch gallop.
Montemaggiore (stage 13)
Montemaggiore probably won’t be a decisive climb in the Giro because it comes so close to the start of the stage – the climb starts at kilometre 48 – but it heralds the start of a tough stage for the climbers.
Just over eight kilometres in length, the climb averages nine per cent, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The first 2.5km kilometres are pretty straightforward, but then the hill ramps up to over 10 per cent for the rest of the climb, maxing out at 15 per cent in the final 500m.
There’s a sting in the tail of this one, and after a short descent the riders are heading uphill again on this very up-and-down stage.
Cima Porzus (stage 13)
The Montemaggiore climb earlier in the day may be more relentless, but after 130km of racing up and down mountains this climb of Cima Porzus could see a few riders crack.
Again, the climb averages nine per cent, but rarely does it go below that gradient. The riders will have to plug away for 8.5km at a steady gradient while they plan their finishing strategies.
This climb is followed by a shorter ascent to Valle, so attacks may come there rather than on the Cima Porzus, but this climb will certainly sort the men from the boys and the sprinters autobus will be stamping a lot of tickets.
Passo Giau (stage 14)
Anyone who has completed the Maratona dles Dolomites sportive will know the Passo Giau very well.
The scenery is stunning, but the ascent is pretty relentless. From Selva di Cadore the climb starts off hard (a kilometre at over 10 per cent) and continues in a similar fashion for the next seven kilometres.
Again, this climb might not be in a location to be the place of crucial attacks, with another climb following immediately afterwards, but it promises to be a great part of this year’s race. One for the breakaway, maybe.
Alpe di Siusi (stage 15 ITT)
As if riding up mountains wasn’t hard enough, imagine smashing it up as hard as you can with no teammates to help you out.
That’s what the riders face on the Alpe di Siusi on stage 15 as a mountain time trial could well separate some of the favourites for the maglia rosa.
Movistar‘s Andrey Amador holds the Strava KOM on the climb, set on a recce back in March, smashing up in 31 minutes at a modest 166 beats per minute on the heart rate monitor.
Piece of cake.