Stage 12: Siena-Bagno di Romagna
Date: May 20, 2021
Stage start: 11:35 a. m. CEST
Stage type: Medium mountain
RCS Sport describe this as a “queen stage across the Apennines”, and with 3,700 metres of climbing that seems a fair description. It’s also designed to pay tribute to former racer and Italian national coach Alfredo Martini, who oversaw six World Championship victories by the azzurri, and three-time Giro and two-time Tour de France winner Gino Bartali. The stage passes through their hometowns of Sesto Fiorentino and Ponte a Ema, respectively.
After rolling north through the Tuscan hills, Bartali’s hometown arrives first, just before the race passes through Florence, Martini’s arriving just after and marked by the first intermediate sprint. It also signals a hardening in the degree of climbing, the riders continuing straight onto the third-category Monte Morello. The road rolls along a ridge beyond the Morello, before dipping to reach the foot of the second climb.
The second-category Passo della Consuma, which last featured on the route in 2017, is quite lengthy (16km), but not especially steep (5.7 per cent). There’s a short plateau beyond it, the road then dropping into the next valley to arrive at the foot of another cat 2 test, the Passo della Calla, which also extends for 16km and with very similar gradient to the Consuma.
From the Calla, the riders will descend for 27 kilometres to reach Santa Sofia, site of the second intermediate sprint and also the start of the day’s final climbing test, the third-category Passo del Carnaio. There are some steep sections early on in the 11.9km ascent but long sections of false flat, the last leading to the summit, from which 10 mostly-downhill kilometres remain into the finish. This looks a good day for a breakaway and one where the GC favourites will be happy to watch each other rather than test each other out.
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