Oropa is the earliest summit finish in the Italian Grand Tour since 1989. Back then, Acácio da Silva climbed to victory on Mount Etna.
The climb to Oropa was last included in 2017. At an elevation of 1,142 metres, the sanctuary is reached after a 11.8 kilometres climb at 6.2% with steepest sectors of up to 13%. It is an irregular ascent with the most unwelcoming sectors from kilometre 5 onwards.
In 2017, Nairo Quintana attacked halfway u the finish climb. Maglia rosa Tom Dumoulin set of in pursuit with Mikel Landa, Vincenzo Nibali, Adam Yates and Ilnur Zakarin in his wheel. The Dutchman shrugged off Nibali and Yates before he closed the gap to Quintana. Dumoulin countered a alet attack by Zakarin just before the final straight to the Oropa Sanctuary. The maglia rosa dug deep and passed the Russian on the cobbles to the line to win the race and cement his overall lead.
Enrico Battaglin took the flowers in Oropa in 2014, while the photogenetic sanctuary formed also the the backdrop in the infamous 1999 stage when Pantani flatted at the bottom. The Italian then overtook 49 riders in the last 8 kilometres to win the stage. Six days later he was removed from the Giro with his hematocrit exceeding the 50% limit that was then in place.
The run-up to the finish climb is nothing special. The first 85 kilometres are flat befre two minor climbs take the riders to the medieval town of Biella, where the climb to the line kicks in.
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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