Stage 12: Cesenatico - Cesenatico
Stage 12: Cesenatico to Cesenatico
Date: October 15, 2020
Stage start: 11:10am CEST
Stage type: Hilly
This stage, starting and finishing in Marco Pantani’s hometown, pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Gran Fondo Nove Colli, following the same route as cycling’s oldest cyclosportive, with its nine hills in rolling Romagna countryside that add up to 3,800 metres of vertical gain. This is ideal breakaway territory, undulating enough to dissuade the sprinters’ teams from committing to a pursuit.
It begins as it ends, on the flat, passing to the north of Cesena and the first climb up to Polenta. There is a short return to the flat before the second hill up to San Matteo, which marks the start of a 120-kilometre rollercoaster ride. Next up is the fourth-category rise to Ciola, which is followed by the third-category climb to Barbotto, the nemesis of so many Novi Colle riders over the years. It averages 8.4 per cent for 4.5 kilometres, but those stats conceal the abruptness of the ramps towards the top, where there’s a long section at 14 per cent.
The descent away from Barbotto leads immediately to a short but, once again, steep ascent to Montetiffi, which is a stepping stone to a longer climb to Perticara, another third-category hill that at 5 per cent gradient is a little less testing than what’s just gone before. The fast drop away from it leads into the first intermediate sprint at Novafeltria and the beginning of the longest and highest climb of the day, the third-category Madonna di Pugliano.
Here, the route turns north towards the finish in Cesenatico. There are two more climbs on the way, the latter the fourth-category ascent to San Giovanni in Galilea. From here, 30 kilometres remain to the line, half of it covered on a gentle descent down to the second intermediate sprint at Savignano sul Rubicone before the final chase across the flatlands back into Cesenatico.
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