Preview: Giro d’Italia enters uncharted terrain on the gravel of Campo Felice

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Uncharted territory. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) had never raced for more than seven consecutive days before passing that landmark on the road to Guardia Sanframondi on Saturday. The Belgian now faces into more undiscovered country on stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia, when the race climbs to its highest point to date with the novel summit finish at Campo Felice, which features 1.6km of gravel road at the top.

The ski station above Rocca di Cambio is the second biggest in southern Italy after that nearby Giro staple, Roccaraso. Among its proudest boasts is that it was the preferred winter holiday destination of Pope John Paul II. Evenepoel, the man whose every move on this Giro is being relayed back to his native Belgium in the same detail as a papal visit, acknowledged on Saturday that the stage through the Apennines to Campo Felice would be the most demanding of the race to date.

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.