Stage 19: Abbiategrasso - Alpe di Mera
Stage 19: Abbiategrasso-Alpe di Mera
Date: May 28, 2021
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 relatively comfortable, early ramps of the Mottarone pass, making its first appearance on the route since 2011, when Alberto Contador led Astana teammate Paolo Tiralongo to a stage win. It’s a 16km climb of quarters, the initial one straightforward, but the second very tough indeed, one kilometre averaging 11 per cent and several sections more acute than that. The third quarter is easier again, leading to a final 4km at more than 8 per cent.
Steep initially, the descent eases down to the shores of Lake Maggiore, before turning west, passing through the first intermediate sprint at Omegna. The third-category Passo della Colma (8.7km at 5.5 per cent) arrives soon 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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