Stage 19: Ponte di Legno – Val Martello Distance: 139km Highest point: 2,758km Category: High mountain
PUSHING BACK BOUNDARIES Of course, most club riders could easily ride 139 kilometres on a Friday morning. Throw in 4,300 metres of accrued climbing and the world’s best cyclists and it's quite another story. It’s difficult to imagine a more horrendous start than the Gavia, even more so with most of a Grand Tour in the legs. That’s what awaits here, though, with the Passo dello Stelvio to follow. The final 22 kilometres to Val Martello will finish off many riders. This will be the stuff of Giro legend. Unthinkably hard, unthinkably good.
Stefano Zanatta says: "Whoever wins this Giro will be a champion and we will see that today. Everyone will have a tactical plan but, of course, whether or not it's effective will be determined by their physical condition. At this level they don't tend to collapse psychologically but, by the same token, if you're not at your best here, you will lose the Giro d'Italia. Not much else to say really; it's what Grand Tour cycling is all about and it pretty much speaks for itself..."