Giro d'Italia 2021: Stage 19 preview

Stage 19: Abbiategrasso-Alpe di Mera

Date: May 28, 2021 

Distance: 166km 

Stage start: 12:20 p.m. CEST

Stage type: Mountains

Three days remain and the first two are in the mountains, beginning with this stage that concludes with the first-ever Giro d'Italia finish on the fearsomely-steep Alpe di Mera.

From the start in Abbiategrasso, the opening third of stage 19 is benign, rising very gently as the plains are swapped for the early foothills of the Alps. The complexion changes at Orta San Giulia, where the riders will arrive on the fourth-category Alpe Agogna climb after organisers RCS Sport re-routed from the Mottarone following the cable car tragedy on the mountain which killed 14 people.

The peloton will then descend to the shores of Lake Maggiore, reaching the town of Stresa before turning west, passing through the first intermediate sprint at Baveno. The third-category Passo della Colma (8.7km at 5.5 per cent) arrives not too long after. The descent away from it leads into Varallo and the start of a dozen kilometres of false flat leading into the second intermediate sprint at Scopetta and, soon after, the foot of the final climb.

Ten kilometres long, the Alpe di Mera averages 8.7 per cent, but the gradient doesn’t reach that figure until the fourth kilometre. Here the slope gradually steepens, reaching 9 per cent for a kilometre, 9.5 per cent for the next, 10.5 per cent for the next, then almost 12 per cent for kilometre eight. The last 2km are a couple of points below this. Two things are certain, there will be gaps between the favourites, perhaps quite considerable, and the fearsome reputation of the Alpe di Mare will be much more widely known.

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