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Monte Zoncolan features in 2018 Giro Rosa

The Monte Zoncolan surely sank a millimeter or two under the weight of the thousands of fans

The Monte Zoncolan surely sank a millimeter or two under the weight of the thousands of fans (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Organisers of the 29th edition of the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, popularly known as the Giro Rosa, confirmed Saturday that the 2018 route, held from July 6-15, will take the riders up the famed Monte Zoncolan during the penultimate ninth stage. The daunting 11.9-kilometre ascent, with slopes as steep as 22 per cent, could decide the overall winner.

"The big mountains are back as protagonists of the Giro Rosa," said Giuseppe Rivolta, race director. “It will be for sure a spectacular race and a sport show on the Italian roads."

The entire route has not been unveiled, however, organisers presented stage 1 along with stage 9 and 10 at the Garzoni Theatre in Tricesimo. President of the Stage Committee of Friuli Enzo Cainero and Mayor of Tricesimo Giorgio Baiutti welcomed participants to the presentation.

The Giro Rosa is the biggest stage race on the Women’s WorldTour calendar. The 10-day race will begin on July 6 with a 15.5-kilometre team time trial in Verbania along the picturesque shores of Lago Maggiore.

The next seven stages will be announced in due course but the big feature of the next year’s Giro Rosa will be the final climb to the top of Monte Zoncolan. Stage 9 will start from Tricesimo and include 104.7kms to the top of the final ascent.

The women will take on the toughest side of Monte Zoncolan, from Ovaro, on the western side. It is 11.9 kilometres in length, 1,200 metres gained and has an average slope of 11.9 per cent (with sections as steep as 22 per cent).

"The Zoncolan from Ovaro to its top is new for the Giro [Rosa],” said Enzo Cainero, president of the Friuli stage committee, “and it gives a truly, big importance about the quality and power of women cycling, which gives very big emotions."

The Zoncolan was first featured in the Giro Rosa 20 years ago, in 1997, and at that time the climb began at Sutrio to the chair lifts. Italian Fabiana Luperini won that stage and the overall title. It has since been used five times in the men's Giro d'Italia. 

Monte Zoncolan will also serve as the finish ascent for stage 14 of the 2018 Giro d'Italia, and like the women's field, the men will also climb its steepest side from Ovaro to the summit.

The 2018 Giro Rosa will end on July 15 with stage 10, 120kms in Friuli, with a short final circuit that includes a tough four-kilometre climb in Trivio.

Anna van der Breggen won her second Giro Rosa title in the 2017 edition. She beat Elisa Longo Borghini and Annemiek Van Vleuten.

Kirsten Frattini

Kirsten Frattini has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level all the way to the World Cup. She is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. Kirsten has worked in both print and digital publishing. She started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006, and was responsible for reporting from the US and Canadian racing scene. Now as a Production Editor, she produces international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits global news and writes features.