Giro d'Italia 2022 - Stage 16 preview

Stage 16: Salò to Aprica

Date: May 24, 2022

Distance: 202km 

Race times: 11:00-17:10 (CEST)

Stage type: Mountains

Returning to the road after the second rest day, it’s huge outing in the mountains for the riders of the 105th Giro d’Italia. Following stages 14 and 15 which are likely to have effected a big shake-up in the general classification, the top riders will have a clearer idea of who their main rivals are going into the final week of racing.

With three monster climbs, including the storied Mortirolo, there’s barely a flat kilometre in sight on stage 16, which racks up an eye-watering 5,250 metres of climbing overall. It is the second of only three stages in 2022 that receive the Giro’s highest difficulty rating of five stars.

Beginning in Salò on the banks of Lake Garda, the race spends the day in the Lombardy region of Italy. It moves away from the lake and towards the mountains with the first peak of the day, the Goletto di Cadino, a category one climb of some 30km in total.

Famous for its stunning switchbacks, the Mortirolo Pass has a significant place in cycling history. The climb on which a young Marco Pantani made his name in 1994, a statue to commemorate ‘Il Pirata’ stands on its slopes. This year, the race approaches the climb from the ‘easier’ side, making the total ascent 12.6km at an average gradient of 7.6 per cent, but it will still pose a significant challenge, and the stage hunters and GC riders alike will be keen to prove themselves on a climb that’s a part of Giro d’Italia legend.

The peloton face 37km of technical descent from Mortirolo before the incline kicks up once more and they contend an intermediate sprint atop the uncategorised Teglio climb. 

The final challenge of the day, the climb up to Valico di Santa Cristina, is a brute. Gaining 1078 metres of altitude in just 13.5km, the average gradient for the ascent is 8 per cent. However it becomes steeper as it gets higher, with the second half of the climb averaging 10.1 per cent and maxing out at 13 per cent. It passes through a couple of tunnels before the road narrows and hairpins must be navigated to reach the summit.

After that, the riders tackle a sketchy technical descent before the final 1.2km which rises at 3 per cent into Aprica, a Lombardy town located on the pass between Lake Como and the Dolomites. Expect the see the bunch to shatter on the final climb, and a significant impact on the overall standings at the conclusion of this one.

Katy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has published interviews, features, and previews in Cycling News, Rouleur, Cyclist Magazine and the British Continental. She also writes opinion pieces on her own website and is a frequent contributor to the Quicklink podcast. 

She is obsessed with the narrative element of bike racing, from the bigger picture to the individual stories. She is a cyclocross nut who is 5% Belgian and wonders if this entitles her to citizenship. Her favourite races are Ronde van Vlaanderen and La Vuelta.

In her spare time Katy is a published short fiction and non-fiction author.

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