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% appears 4 kilometres up the slopes. The Mauria amounts to 8.8 kilometres and is averaging 4.4%.
Back in the valley a false flat of around 40 kilometres leads to the 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%.
The (long) Tre Croci-descent leads to a beautiful mountain lake near Auronzo di Cadore, where the riders tackle the Passo di Sant’Antonio. The lower and higher slopes are doable, yet the middle section is a tough task. Starting at kilometre 1 the climb is averaging 9.4% for 5 kilometres. The full climb amounts to 8.3 kilometres with its average gradient at 7.5%.
Next up is an unprecedented climb in the Giro. The ascent to Costalissoio is short and sharp – 10.6% in the first 2.5 kilometres, while it flattens out to 5.6% in the rest of the climb. When the riders move through Costalissoio they have 16 kilometres ahead of them.
Roughly half of it is on descent, while the route follows the Piave river in the last 6.5 kilometres. The average gradient is 3.8%, but there is still one more tricky stretch – from 4.5 kilometres until 3.5 kilometres the road points uphill at 8.2%.
In 1987, Stephen Roche won the Giro basically in Sappada. That day, he put almost 6 minutes into his leader Roberto Visentini and took the maglia rosa. It was the start of the most successful year of his career. That same season, Roche went on to win the Tour de France and the rainbow jersey.
The first three riders on the line win time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the last of two intermediate sprints (at kilometre 75.6 and at kilometre 102.7) comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Giro d’Italia 2018 stage 15: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Details Passo della Mauria
Details Passo tre Croci
Details Passo di Sant’Antonio
Details Costalissoio climb