Not the most welcoming area of Italy, and that’s an euphemism when we are talking about the region the Giro is cruising today. In fact, take a good look at the height profile of the stage and you’ll find the first 100 kilometres are all going up. And the course totals six climbs.
Farra d’Alpago is surrounded by forests and Lago di Santa Croce. The riders head for the old own Belluno in the valley of the Cordevole river. After Peron, at an elevation of 380 metres, civilation is far away. Through the small and green valley the pack heads north. Sometimes a plain with some villages gives some distraction, and all the while the road is rising. In Arabba the riders are at an elevation of 1,601 metres. En that’s only the beginning of the climb up the Passo Pordoi.
With 9.25 kilometres at 6.9% the Passo Pordoi is not for the faint of heart, yet the climb is doable. While trees are getting sparse and ultimately disappear on the regular slopes, the riders head for the pass, located at an elevation 2,239 metres pass – the highest point of the day. Once there, they still have 115 kilometres ahead of them.
Still recovering from the Passo Pordoi the Passo Sella appears. The 5.5 kilometres climb at 7.9% offers a steepest section after 3 kilometres when the road rises at 12%.
In the valley, the road goes back up again without any delay. Actually, the Passo Gardena is a two stage climb. The first is 2 kilometres at 7.4%, then a flat section at 2 kilometres takes the riders to last 1.75 kilometres at 6.2%
It looks like the organization aimed at capping as much passes as possible in one day when creating the route of stage 14. After descending Passo Gardena – on a road with a lot of hairpins – climb number four is up the Passo Campolongo. In 6 kilometres at 5.9% this is not the toughest section on the road book, yet the first 2 kilometres are nasty as they features sectors up to 13%.
The first four passes came in rapid succession, one after the other, now it’s time for a breather as number five, Passo Giau, oeaks 36 kilometres after cresting Passo Gardena. Yet the Giau is a heavy task, offering 9.85 uphill kilometres at 9.4%. Comfort can be taken in the fact it is a steady climb, albeit there is a 13% section. Furthermore, hairpins are everywhere and the energy will be wrung out of the legs by now.
Still the torture is not over as Passo Valparola is lying in wait. This time the agony is 11.5 kilometres in length. Compered to the Giau the average grade is modest at 6.3%, mainly because the first half is relatively easy. Obviously, the second part mus be tougher then, peaking with a sector at 14% in the laast 500 metres of the climb.
To the finish line
After cresting Passo Valparola a fast drop takes the pilots into the valley. Once there, a final test goes by the name of Muro del Gatto. The climb is 360 metres, yet the average grade is 13.4% while the steepest sector comes at 19%. After a short drop the last 3 kilometres rise at 2 to 3%.
In the past, Corvara hosted the Giro on five occasions. Today’s winner follows in the footsteps of the Mexican climber Julio Pérez Cuapio, who took the flowers in 2002. Previous victors in Corvara were Claudio Chiapucci (1993), Moreno Argentin (1993 also), Franco Vona (1992) and Flavio Giupponi (1989).
At the line, time bonuses at 10, 6 and 4 seconds lay waiting, while intermediate sprints come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds each.
Race results/race report stage 14, Giro d’Italia 2016.
Giro 2016 Stage 14: Route maps, height profiles, etc.
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