A key mountain stage of the 2015 Giro d'Italia will end in Madonna di Campiglio, the ski resort in the Trentino region where Marco Pantani won a stage in 1999 before being dramatically disqualified for a high haematocrit while wearing the pink jersey.
Giro d'Italia organisers RCS Sport revealed details of what will be the 15th stage of the 2015 Corsa Rosa in a presentation in Trento attended by former Trentino rider Maurizio Fondriest. The 2015 Giro d'Italia will begin with a team time trial in San Remo on Saturday, May 9 and end on Sunday, May 31.
The full route of the 2015 Giro d'Italia will unvealed in Milan on Monday, October 6.
The Giro d'Italia will also spend the second rest day of the race in Madonna di Campiglio on Monday, May 25, while stage 16 on Tuesday, May 26 begins from nearby Pinzolo.
The stage to Madonna di Campiglio will start in Marostica, in the Veneto region, and then climb into the Trento mountains via the Asiago plain and the La Fricca climb. After passing through Trento and in the shadow of Monte Bondone, the route climbs the Passo Daone, which has an average gradient of 9% and sections at 14%. The 17km to the finish begins in Pinzolo and climbs to Madonna di Campiglio at average of 6%.
The fInish line will be two kilometres above the village at Patacross, after a double digit gradient climb to the line. It will be only the second time that Madonna di Campiglio hosts a Giro d'Italia stage. In 1999, Pantani won alone while wearing the maglia rosa. However a UCI blood test revealed he had a 52% haematocrit level and was disqualified from the race. After strenuous denials, Pantani eventually made a comeback and won two stages at the 2000 Tour de France but was never again a Grand Tour contender.
Depression and drug problems hindered the rest of his career and ultimately lead to his tragic death on St Valentine's day in 2004.
"The relationship between the Giro d’Italia and the Trentino region is deeply rooted on both territorial and sporting levels," Giro d'Italia race director Mauro Vegni said at the presentation of the stage.
"This year, with the return of a finish in Madonna di Campiglio, 16 years after the one and only time Marco Pantani won there, we wanted to bring the race back to this extraordinary area."
While Madonna di Campiglio tops the bill, 1988 world champion Maurizio Fondriest noted that the preceding Passo Daone could prove equally decisive. "Madonna di Campiglio is a well known climb that can be climbed at a regular pace," he said. "The less well known climb is Passo Daone, which is highly demanding both on ascent and descent. This highly technical section could be the perfect ramp to launch the stage-winning attack."