Thibaut Pinot and Miguel Ángel López are riders with a knack for this kind of exhausting ascents, although you’ll never know if the does race down to a clash of GC contenders. Is there a team willing to control the race? Not only the last climb is mega, the same goes for the stage itself – it’s 224 kilometres long. The route is perfectly suited for a long range attack. Yet, no matter how the race unfolds, the final haul up the Gran Sasso will be decisive.
The 9th stage of the Giro d’Italia is played out in the Apennines. The finale is a mega-long ascent with two KOMs. Firstly, the route climbs to Calascio – 13.7 kilometres at 6%. After reaching the crest the road drops down for a few hundred metres before it starts to point uphill again – although false flat in the first 5.6 kilometres. Then the actual haul up the Gran Sasso kicks in. The climb amounts to 26.4 kilometres, but the middle section is really nothing to worry about as this is flat flat or even slightly descending. That said, the sheer distance is something else. The uphill stretches are mostly averaging at 4% to 5%, but a few kilometres before the top – when the Gran Sasso has been sapping the energy of the riders for more than one hour – the Grande Finale rears its head. The last 4.45 kilometres to the line at the Campo Imperatore plateau go up at 8.2%, while with 1.5 kilometres to go the steepest ramp (13%) appears. Which is a perfect place to strike.
Favourites 9th stage 2018 Giro d’Italia
*** Thibaut Pinot, Miguel Ángel López, Esteban Chaves, Fabio Aru
** Pello Bilbao, Nicolas Roche, Jarlinson Pantano, Roman Kreuziger
* Jan Polanc, Robert Gesink, Tim Wellens, Ruben Plaza, Krists Neilands
Giro d’Italia 2018 stage 9: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Route final kilometres
Details Roccaraso climb
Details Calascio climb
Details Gran Sasso d’Italia climb