Saturday 29 May - The climbers face their last chance to move up in the GC on stage 20. The 164 kilometres race travels over the San Bernardino Pass and Splügen Pass to the steep uphill finish at the Alpe Motta. The elevation gain is 4,200 metres, which is impressive since virtually all vertical metres are situated in the second half of the race.
Verbania is the place where Filippo Ganna was born on 25 July 1996. The time trial World Champion won four stages in last year’s Giro, including three ITT’s.
The first part of the race runs along the Lago Maggiore into Switzerland. Shortly after Locarno the riders enter the valley of the Moesa river on their way to the San Bernardino Pass.
Starting in Soazzo, the climb to the summit is 23.7 kilometres long. The average gradient sits at 6.2%, which is modest and that’s because a 2 kilometres downhill appears 9 kilometres before the summit, while the last 700 metres are merely a false flat.
Packed with hairpins and surrounded by a gorgeous scenery, the San Bernardino Pass is a beautiful mountain road.
The descent leads into Splügen, at the foot of the pass with the same name and situated at 1,460 metres. So that’s still at altitude, meaning that the next climb is not as long. The Splügen Pass serves 8.9 kilometres of climbing at 7.3%.
The summit of the Splügen Pass coincides with the Swiss/Italian border and the riders return into Italy via a 20 kilometres descent. In Campodolcino they loop steeply back up the mountainside on the stunning old road to Madesimo. The Alpe Motta climb is 7.3 kilometres long and averages 7.6%, while the gradients are hardest in the final part, although the ascent levels out in the last 300 metres.
The second intermediate sprint – situated 2.4 kilometres before the finish – comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds, while time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds are awarded to the first three riders on the line.
The 20th stage of the Giro d’Italia starts at 12.20 and the race is expected to finish around 17.15 – both are local times (CEST).