The Giro d’Italia faces from this Tuesday the third and last week of the race that will decide which rider will wear the pink jersey as champion next Sunday at the Verona Arena. A winner who will come out of the very tough stages of this last week with Mortirolo and Marmolada as protagonists or with the final time trial in Verona if the Dolomites did not close the fight for the general. Let’s review what are the key stages of the last week of the Giro d’Italia.
Stage 16: Salò – Aprica (202 kilometers, Tuesday May 24)
The second five-star stage of the Giro is shaping up to be the queen stage and one of the ‘tappones’ of this edition with 5,250 meters of positive elevation gain. Almost from the start, the runners will have to face the climb to Goletto di Cadino, first category with its 19.9 kilometers at 6.2% that will possibly break the peloton into a thousand pieces. A long descent will take the cyclists on their way to Edolo to face one of the most anticipated climbs of this Giro, the Passo del Mortirolo, first category with its 12.6 kilometers at 7.6%, with ramps of up to 16% and almost three kilometers final at 10%. As if this were not enough, the cyclists will have another demanding climb on the way to the intermediate sprint of Teglio, with its 5.6 kilometers at 8.2% before facing the last trap set by the Giro: the climb to Valico di Santa Cristina, a first category with its 13.5 kilometers at 8% with the last 6.5 kilometers in which the ramps do not drop below 10% before the rapid descent to the Aprica finish line.
Stage 17: Ponte di Legno – Lavarone (168 kilometres, Wednesday May 25)
With the hangover from Mortirolo still in their legs, the cyclists will have to face another demanding day on the way to Lavarone the next day. At the start, the non-scoring climb to Passo del Tonale could encourage breakaways before a very long descent on the way to the climb to Giovo (3rd, 5.9 km at 6.8%). From here the peloton will roll through a terrain full of steep slopes before reaching the first intermediate sprint of the day in Pergine Valsugana to make the climb to Passo del Vertiolo, first category with its 11.8 kilometers at 7.7% and 10 kilometers in which the slope barely falls below 8%. A quick descent will take the riders to the intermediate sprint to Caldonazzo before facing the last surprise of the day: the climb to Monterovere, first category with its 7.9 kilometers at 9.9% and more than three kilometers at 11%, as last torture before the goal of Lavarone.
Stage 19: Marano Lagunare – Santuario di Castelmonte (177 kilometers, Friday May 27)
The penultimate day of the Giro d’Italia presents an ideal route for ambushes with some new climbs that can tense the race. The climbs to Villanova Grotte (3rd, 3.7 km at 8%) and Passo di Tanamea (3rd) will toughen up the race before entering Slovenia, where the demanding climb to Kolovrat, first category with its 10.3 kilometres, at 9.2% could break the race before it heads back into Italy in search of the intermediate sprint to Cividale del Friuli, where the final climb to the Sanctuary of Castelmonte will begin, with its 7.1 kilometers at 7.8% and final four kilometers at 8%
Stage 20: Belluno – Passo Fedaia/Marmolada (168 kilometres, Saturday May 28)
The final fireworks of the Giro, the ‘no more’. The Dolomites are emerging as the decisive judges of the race in the last of the three five-star days: a real ‘tappone’. The runners will have to face a terrain that itches slightly uphill before the first colossus of the day, the Passo San Pellegrino, first category with its 18.5 kilometers at 6.2%. A rapid descent will take the cyclists to a false flat on the way to Canazei to make the climb to Passo Pordoi, Cima Coppi of this edition with its 11.8 kilometers at 6.8% that will crown at 2,239 meters of altitude. The long descent towards Caprile will take the peloton to the last big climb of the Giro d’Italia: Passo Fedaia, the mythical Marmolada, first category with its 14 kilometers at 7.6% and the final 5.5 kilometers in which the slope does not drops from 10.5% with peaks of up to 18%.
Stage 21: Verona – Verona (17.4 kilometers, individual time trial, Sunday May 29)
If the general classification had not been decided in the Marmolada, the favorites for the general classification who defend themselves well against the clock have one last chance in the final time trial in Verona. It will not be a typical flat time trial, since the runners will have five flat kilometers before the climb to Torricella Massimiliana, in the fourth category. A quick descent will take the cyclists to a flat section before the finish line at the Verona Arena, where the new Giro d’Italia champion will be crowned.