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Video: Giro d'Italia Stage 16 preview

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On the Gavia in 2008 as the peloton nears the top of the climb

On the Gavia in 2008 as the peloton nears the top of the climb (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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The Stelvio in all its Giro splendor

The Stelvio in all its Giro splendor (Image credit: Jered Gruber)

There have been climbs in the previous Giro d'Italia stages, but on stage 16 things suddenly get serious, as the peloton will take on the Gavia and Stelvio before finishing atop Val Martello. At only 139 kilometers it is the race's second shortest road stage, but possibly the most difficult – “a day for the sprinters to hold on for dear life.”

And if the stage looks vaguely familiar, it is because it is a repeat from the 2013 Giro. It was cancelled last year though, due to bad weather. And the possibility again exists that snow may force another change.

Almost immediately after the start, the field will face the Passo di Gavia, one of the most legendary climbs in the Giro. It tops out only 22 km into the day.

No sooner do they descend, than they start back up again. This time they face the Cima Coppi (the highest point in the race) the Passo dello Stelvio, with its 48 hairpin bends.

The peloton's tired legs will get a short break before heading up the day's final climb, the category one Val Martello. A special feature of this 22 km long climb is the gradient, which hits 14% at the flamme rouge – a final torture which may decide the winner of not only the stage but also the Giro.

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