The riders clip into their pedals in Manerba del Garda and the route climbs at shallow gradients to Casto, where the first climb kicks in hard with 500 metres at 12%. It levels out to 6% in the subsequent 2.5 kilometres before a false flat and a downhill lead to the base of the Colle San Zeno. Which is a 13.9 kilometres climb at 6.6%.
The route descends to Lago d’Iseo to enter a false flat that goes on for tens of kilometres towards Edolo, at the foot of the climb to Aprica. This is a 12.6 kilometres test with an average gradient of 4%, while the second kilometre adds the most hardship to the mix as it goes up at 8%.
Following a short descent the riders cross the Adda River with almost 60 kilometres remaining. And, rather intimidating, most of it goes uphill.
The first 7 kilometres rise at 6% to Lago di Poschiavo, while the riders cross into Switzerland in doing so. A flat section along the lake leads onto the rest of the Forcola di Livigno. The full ascent totals 18 kilometres at 7.1%, with the flat section incorporated into this statistic. The riders cross back into Italy at the summit, which lies at 2,315 metres above sea level.
There are 20 kilometres remaining at the Forcola di Livigno. The first part goes dowhill, the second climbs in 8.8 kilometres at 6.6% to the line.
Livigno is a perfect spot for high altitude training, so all pro-teams know the area inside out. Oddly, the town in the heart of the Italian Alps is rarely visited by the Giro. In 2005, Ivan Parra climbed to triumph and before that it was Eddy Merckx who took the spoils as far back as 1972.
The second intermediate sprint comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds, while the first three riders on the line gain 10, 6 and 4 seconds.
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