Departure place Tolmezzo was a minor player in the 2017 Giro d’Italia when the riders passed through it in the 19th stage. Tom Dumoulin cracked on the last climb and Nairo Quintana took over the pink jersey (only to lose it on the ultimate day).
After leaving Tolmezzo the 15th stage opens with a false flat. A first (non-KOM) peak is crested after approximately 20 kilometres before the route continues to the base of the Passo della Mauria. The steepest stretch at 9.3% appears a little over 3 kilometres up the slopes. The Mauria amounts to 9.1 kilometres and is averaging some 5%.
The drop leads to the next false flat section of around 40 kilometres. Then the next challenge looms, Passo Tre Croci. The ascent begins in Cortina d’Ampezzo, host to the 1956 Winter Olympics while the Giro last visited the town in 2012 with Joaquim Rodríguez taking the stage honours. The climb is 8.1 kilometres and averaging 7.1 procent. The lower slopes are toughest with steepest ramps of up to 10.2%.
The next two climbs are both unprecedented in the Giro d’Italia. Starting at a beautiful mountain lake near Auronzo di Cadore the riders tackle the first metres of the Passo di Sant’Antonio. A tough task of almost 10 kilometres and mostly double digit gradients.
A short descent and then the riders tackle the Costalissoio – equally steep but not as long, almost 6 kilometres. At the top it’s 15 kilometer left to race.
Following a drop the last 8.5 kilometres go uphill to Sappada. The first kilometres are toughest, featuring a stretch at 8.7%. In 1987, Stephen Roche won the Giro after he had laid the groundwork in Sappada by putting almost 6 minutes into his leader Roberto Visentini. That same year, Roche went on to win the Tour de France and the rainbow jersey.
Giro d’Italia 2018 stage 15: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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