The departure city of La Spezia is an important military port, used in WWII by the Germans to send out their U-boats on to the Mediterranean. Nowadays it’s a commercial harbour also and you might spot enormous cruise liners. 22-fold stage winner in the Giro Alessandro Petacchi was born in La Spezia.
Leaving the coastal town riders pass through the Apennines to head for Tuscany’s most famous ski resort – Abetone (1,388 metres) . With 57 kilometres done they are to crest Passo dei Carpinelli (839 metres) and next comes a long descent containing some minor hurdles. The climb to Barga starts after 90 kilometres and 20 kilometres later the riders are on the other side of the mountain in Formoli (109 metres). Actually the road goes up from then on, but officially the climb to Abetone is ‘only’ 17.3 kilometres – at an average gradient of 5.4%. The last 12.8 kilometres rise by 6.3% and the steepest sections at 10% are in the last 2 kilometres.
Abetone was founded in the year 1732 as a custom post between the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Duchy of Modena. It’s been a ski resort since the early 20th century.
The 2000 Giro saw a top finish in Abetone also. Francesco Casagrande took the stage and the top-10 was almost entirely made up of Italians with Russian Pavel Tonkov being the only foreign rider.
Giro 2015 stage 5: Route, profile and more
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