Giro-E 2022 Stage 6
Good morning from the Giro-E 2022 day of days! Feared, loved, respected, the Blockhaus – this year’s epic climb – is upon us. And with it, the toughest stage: 3,100 metres of elevation gain and a total distance of 93 kilometres. Will that do?
The Orsogna – Blockhaus stage
Until the advent of e-road bikes – today’s pedal assisted racing bikes – a major Apennine stage that was within everyone’s capabilities would have been unthinkable. The huge total elevation gain is spread over two massive climbs, the first to the Lanciano Pass, the second to the summit of the Blockhaus (both category 1 climbs). And did I mention a route covering nearly one hundred kilometres? Definitely a five-star stage, in terms of both intensity and fatigue. A real test of the cyclists’ legs and heart (and not just in a muscular sense). It’ll also put the bikes through their paces, as they’ll be maxing out their batteries, so anything could happen: an e-road generally has an uphill autonomy of just 1,200-1,400 metres. If you’ve got the central motor mount, connected to the bottom bracket pin, you can actually change the battery and multiply the range; of course, you’ll need extra batteries with you (we still have ‘fond’ memories of tough stages in which the batteries eventually gave up the ghost…). However, bikes with the motor in the rear hub do not have a replaceable battery, so they need to slot in a booster (which takes the place of the second water bottle). However this ‘retrofit’ power pack doesn’t last as long as the main internal one; so here too, you might need spare batteries, and it’s not like there’s an inexhaustible supply…
First climb: from the easier side of the Blockhaus, up to the Lanciano pass: 10.3 kilometres at an average gradient of 7.6%, peaking at a gruelling 14%.
Then, a swoop down from 1,310 metres to 118: -1,192 metres in just 12 kilometres!
Second climb: you top out at 1,665 meters after 13.6 sinew-straining kilometres, an 8.4% average gradient, a 1,141 altitude gain and ramps touching 14%, not to mention a series of rhythm-breaking hairpins. Plus an uphill finishing stretch, still at a stinging 8%.
Wanted to see some serious cycling? Here you go.
Let’s console ourselves with the fact that the pros will be covering 191 kilometres in total and facing 5,000 metres of elevation gain: a figure that strikes fear into the heart. Remember, there’s always someone worse off than you!
Rider of the day – Elisa Scarlatta
She’s the minutest woman on the Giro-E. Well, she might look like a slip of a girl, but she’s practically bomb-proof. A successful ‘influencer cyclist,’ Elisa Scarlatta is riding every stage of the Giro-E, of which she’s now a veteran. The sight of her on the grid before the stage that scales the Blockhaus looks like a mismatch. You can’t help but ask her: Aren’t you afraid of the Blockhaus? Because we’re a little bit afraid… for you. “For me?” says Elisa, before bursting out laughing. “I might look fragile, but I’m anything but. Don’t you worry about me. Remember, I’m the lightest of the bunch and that motor’s gonna help me more than the others… and drain more slowly. So, I’ll get to the top earlier, and cooler”.
Elisa knows what she’s talking about. Together with Patrick Martini, with whom she vice-captains, she’s the soul of Team Toyota. Every day, she escorts the Japanese manufacturer’s guests through the meanders of the Giro-E. “This is my fourth Giro-E. The organisation is now flawless, and getting better every year. It’s changed over the years, and grown enormously. This year the number of teams has doubled, with no less than 15 special teams. Fantastic! It’s an event people can’t get enough of. So many people have got into cycling thanks to the Giro-E and pedal assisted bikes. There are now loads of women taking part, and this year we’ve got an all-female squad. Many had never even been on a racing bike before, but you should see them at the end of the stage, their faces beaming with delight at having made it. And very much thanks to their willpower, not just battery power. Women’s cycling is exploding, and cycling’s now my job… it’s gone way beyond a simple passion. And I couldn’t be happier. Right from the get-go, since the very first Giro-E, I’ve been with Team Toyota. Toyota is doing an incredible job with sustainable mobility. Electrification is the future, whether it be cars or bicycles”.
Next update tuesday, stage 7 of Giro-E, from Civitanova Marche to Jesi.
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