210 kilometres, 8560 metres climbed and six categorised climbs is what the riders face on the mountainous Stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia. Join The Roar‘s live coverage of today’s stage from 9:30pm.
If yesterday was the first day of proper climbing in this year’s Giro, then today completely blows yesterday away in terms of difficulty. I mentioned previously that there are six categorised climbs of the day but the biggest fact of the day is that the four of the categorised climbs, including the final two climbs of the Passo Giau and the Passo Valparola all finish at over 2000 metres.
The stage starts in the town of Alpago and the route will be flat for the first 15 kilometres before the riders start the very long drag up to the summit of the first climb of the day up the Passo Pordoi after 95 kilometres.
The actual start to the climb starts just after this first intermediate sprint point in Araba after 85 kilometres, but before this, the riders will have already climbed at least 1600 metres in the stage.
The climb itself is fairly straightforward, at 9.25 kilometres at just under seven per cent. However, it is the first peak of four today that will be over 200 metres. It gets harder from now on in.
It is then a short and technical descent with many hairpin bends before the riders start the second category climb of the Passo Sella. Although it is a category two climb compared to the previous category one climb, it is steeper than the previous climb, at just under eight per cent average gradient. However, it is only a 5.5 kilometre climb.
The descent off the Sella starts with 104 kilometres to go and is a flowing one, with far less obstacles than the previous descent.
There is not much respite for the riders, as only five kilometres later, the riders start another climb, this time the simple third category climb of Passo Gardena. The climbs average gradient is around 4.5 percent for 5.7 kilometres, however, the middle two kilometres feature a short flat period.
The first two kilometres of the climb are at 7.5 percent, compared to the final 1.75 kilometres at an average gradient of 6.2 per cent.
Having now crested three climbs at over 2000 metres within 25 kilometres of each other, the riders get the most respite they have had to date, with a nine kilometre descent into the second and final intermediate sprint of the race in the town of Corvara.
The intermediate sprint though signals the start of more climbing for the riders, as they start the second category climb of the Passo Campognolo, which is six kilometres long at just under six percent.
This climb is crested with just under 80 kilometres to go, and will descend for the majority of the next 25 kilometres, with a few steep two-kilometre climbs in between.
At 50 kilometres to go the riders will hit the fifth and penultimate climb of the day, the Passo Giau. The climb averages 9.5 per cent for just under ten kilometres, and is the most brutal climb of the stage to date, also finishing at just over 2000 metres (2196 metres in fact).
The Giau is crested with 42 kilometres to go, and another technical descent ensues, until just before 25 kilometres to go, as the final categorised climb, the second category climb of the Passo Valparola.
At 11.5 kilometres with an average gradient of 6.5 per cent, it is not the most difficult climb of the stage, however, after the parcours before this final climb, the majority of the riders will be on their hands and knees at the last kilometre of the climb, as it ramps up to 14 per cent.
The stage though has one final sting in the tail, with a further 20 kilometres to the finish line in Coravra.
It is a technical descent to 13 kilometres to go, before the final kilometres are fairly straight, with a left hand bend at five kilometres to go being the only real turn to deal with.
However, at five kilometres to go their is a sting in the tail to this stage, as the riders will now head uphill all the way to the line, including a 400 metre section at 14 per cent gradient, with just under five kilometres to go.
It is then a short descent to three kilometres to go, before the road rises for the final three kilometres all the way to the line at around three per cent.
This is one of the most difficult Grand Tour stages I have ever seen. Survival will be the aim of the game for the majority of the riders, while conserving energy at every possible moment will be the difference for the general classification riders.
This is a stage is perfectly built for Esteban Chaves and I expect him to be the main attacker on today’s stage. Having trained in altitude in the lead up to the Giro, he will now get to use this to his advantage.
Join The Roar‘s live coverage of today’s stage from 9:30pm.