Talk about finishing in style. Today’s beauty lies in the places, the mountains, the landscape… and the sheer cycling intensity of what is the penultimate stage of the Giro-E and the last in the mountains.
The Alleghe – Marmolada (Passo Fedaia) stage
In designing the Giro d’Italia 2022 route, Mauro Vegni put in a flurry of climbs. So it’s been tough, with huge elevation gains and some monumental peaks. This string of legendary ascents now comes to an end with the last high mountain stage, arriving underneath the towering Marmolada, at Passo Fedaia. Today’s 2,100 metres of elevation gain might not seem so bad (remember the 3,100 metres packed into the Blockhaus stage?) but here they’re concentrated into just 36 kilometres. That makes it brutal, a switchback of endless hairpins that’ll demand motivation, determination and… legs. Not to mention a fully charged battery. This climb may well decide the outcome of the Corsa Rosa; if it doesn’t, it’s all down to the time trial in Verona! Of course, a climb like the Fedaia, which for the pros comes after the Cima Coppi 2022 (i.e. the Pordoi Pass, rightly by-passed by the Giro-E), is one of those where even a professional can, if he hits the wall, easily lose two or three minutes. Nuff said.
As an aside, we sincerely hope that the Giro-E riders managed to take a look around today’s stage start venue, the enchanting village of Alleghe. It overlooks a lake, formed by the partial collapse of Mount Piz in the late 18th century. This area is all about the mountains: from here you can reach the huts of the Civetta range to take in stunning views. And from a sustainability perspective, the Municipality has put this landscape and the abundant crystal-clear meltwaters that run down from the Dolomites to good use by building three hydroelectric power stations. With an output of 2.4 MW, they’re used to power the street lighting and the local ice rink. The main public buildings have all been equipped with photovoltaic systems and solar thermal panels; moreover, some e-vehicle charging stations will be installed in the coming months.
Rider of the day – Daniele Colli
A former road racer with a long career, Daniele rode professionally from 2005 to 2017. He’s now one of the top captains of Giro-E 2022, an elite ‘core’ group whose outstanding cycling credentials and experience allow them to provide valuable tips on riding, how to handle being in the peloton and managing the battery power.
“The event is booming. We’re even finding it hard to invite guests as we’re always full to capacity. People are latching on to the format, so its popularity is growing. Zipping along the roads and over the finish line just before the pros get there is quite a thrill. Over the last few editions the bikes have improved in terms of the power-weight ratio and almost all the teams have their own bikes, which makes it more interesting from a technical perspective. The sponsors couldn’t be happier either. I’d already ridden with the Toyota cycling team, but only at weekends. This year I’m captaining the New Holland-Raspini team, so I’m doing the entire route! As a pro, I started the Giro d’Italia twice, and both times was forced to retire; this year I intend to complete it! It’s beautiful. I mean, it’s not just the cycling… it’s culture, stunning scenery, food and wine. But it’s no cakewalk. The Turin stage was boiling, we all had to dig deep. And the other day, with an elevation gain of over 2,000 metres, almost everyone had battery issues. I’m here because the spirit of this event is unique. For thirty years I pushed myself like a madman, riding 60,000 kilometres a year. And I still love it: cycling is fun, it makes me feel good, and there’s always a cold beer waiting at the end of the stage. Now though, if they asked me to do three super-hard climbs on a conventional bike, I think I’d be inclined to skip straight to the beer”.
Next update tomorrow, stage 18 of Giro-E, at Verona (Verona hills time trial, Tissot ITT)
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