Guillestre is very near to Risoul, arrival place in stage 19, and French also. The last mountain stage in 2016 Giro is a French affair anyway. Only the last 10 kilometres are on Italian soil.
A lot of European cycling fans are familiar with Guillestre, as the village in the Hautes-Alpes is a famous place to start the ascent of the Col d’Ízoard. That climb is skipped however, riders climb up Col de Vars – at 5.8% on average a good way to stretch the legs.
Following a 20 kilometres drop the Col de la Bonette looms. The 22.2 kilometres climb is marked by an average gradient of 6.7%. The sheer length of the ascent will not be the only cause of oxygen debt as the pass peaks at 2,715 metres.
In the 2008 Tour de France South-African John-Lee Augustyn crashed in the descent. He missed a corner and found himself sliding head-first down the shale yet steep slopes. Impersonificating Spiderman he climbed back to the road and continued the race. To a lot of riders it will be a comforting thought they’ll descend the other side of the mountains this time.
Down in Isola another monstrous climb appears: Colle della Lombarda, a 20 kilometres drag at 6.9%. After cresting, at an elevation of 2,350 metres, the pilots nosedive into Italy. They don’t go as far the valley though. After a drop of only 8 kilometres, the short closing climb up to Sant’Anna di Vinadio closes an interesting finale. The last uphill section of the 2016 Giro is 2.3 kilometres at 8.3%.
In 2001, stage 18 of the Giro was set to finish in Sant’Anna di Vinadio. Back then the race was canceled due to bad weather. Let’s hope the organization gets more lucky this time.
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 20, 2016 Giro d’Italia.
Giro 2016 Stage 20: Route maps, height profiles, etc.
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Climb details Col de Vars
Climb details Col de la Bonette
Climb details Col della Lombarda