Mellow Velo

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Stage 16: Salò – Aprica 202 km
Tuesday, May 24th, 11:00 CET

Straight after the final rest day, comes the queen stage. Across the Alps, with over 5,000 m vertical altitude gain, over four intermediate climbs to a downhill finish in Aprica. The last time the Giro finished in Aprica was seven years ago, when Mikel Landa won the stage ahead of Steven Kruijswijk and Alberto Contador.

The race kicks into gear in Salò on Lake Garda and enters the first climb after 30kms, Goletto di Cadino, better known as Passo Crocedomini shortly leaving the shores of Lake Idro. At the bottom, the route will keep heading north along the Valcamonica for a little over 30 kms. After reaching the town of Edolo, the second climb of the day, the mythical Passo del Mortirolo (GPM1, 12.6 km at 7.6%) starts, albeit from the easier ascent. After descending to Mazzo and a section in the valley of the Adda river the short climb to Teglio appears. Then back into the valley to tackle the Passo di Santa Cristina. This is a climb on a very narrow road with the gradients constantly hovering around 10% in the last 5 kilometres.

The Climbs:

Legend has it that the pass was named after a fierce battle that took place there in AD 773, when Charlemagne crossed swords with the Lombard military, which had been defeated in the battle of Pavia. The Carolingian army chased and found them by the pass, killing hundreds of enemy troops. The mountain was hence named Mortarolo (after ‘morte’, meaning ‘death’) and, centuries later, Mortirolo.

The climb passed into cycling legend on June 3, 1990.
The ascent was from Edolo, and Venezuela’s Leonardo Sierra, first to the summit, eventually took the stage.

Then came 1994, the year when both the Mortirolo and Marco Pantani – two matching, twin stories –ultimately became legends.
June 5 was the day of the Merano-Aprica stage, with the Stelvio, Mortirolo and Santa Cristina climbs scheduled in order.
The Pirate, who was only 24 at that time, attacked along the punishing slopes of the second climb, at over 60 kilometres out.
He dropped Indurain, Bugno, Chiappucci and the Maglia Rosa Berzin, soloing over the top. He waited for Indurain in the flat stretch before the final ascent, where he took off again – this time for good – dashing to the line to take stage victory and the second place on GC. In 2006, a sculpture was placed at the 8th kilometre of the Mortirolo to commemorate that accomplishment.

The Passo (or Valico) di Santa Cristina also featured in that stage, the Merano-Aprica stage of 1994.
On that day, this iconic climb first featured in the route of the Giro d’Italia and a virtually unknown Marco Pantani took centre stage for the first time.

Final Kms.

The descent from the Valico di Santa Cristina to the ‑1,500 m marker is highly technical, on narrow road and with sharp gradients. In the closing stretch, the route rises steadily at around 3% all the way to the finish (on tarmac). The run-in to Aprica is relatively easy.

What to expect:

A hard fight to get into a large breakaway. Probably Ineos to do the lion's share of the graft in the peloton, while the multi-cols work the wearing down process.
Very unlikely that the GC battle will commence before the final climb. Very likely someone will come a cropper on the final descent. Probably some large time gaps on GC.

Favourites 16th stage 2022 Giro d’Italia

:*:*:*:*:* Richard Carapaz, Jai Hindley
:*:*:*:* Mikel Landa, Simon Yates
:*:*:* João Almeida, Pello Bilbao, Domenico Pozzovivo
:*:* Giulio Ciccone, Vincenzo Nibali, Emmanuel Buchmann
:* Wilco Kelderman, Hugh Carthy, Alejandro Valverde
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