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Livigno and a tough finale… on the ski slope!


Giro d’Italia means history and tradition, but also innovation and the discovery of new territories and routes. Over the years, each edition has given us different sights and locations, and 2024 will be no exception. Even one of the Queen Stages, number 15 from Manerba del Garda to Livigno – the longest and arguably the toughest of the entire competition, with its 220 km and 5300 metres of elevation gain – will feature a completely new arrival.

Livigno has been a stage finish before, namely in 1972, with victory of the Cannibal Eddy Merckx, and in 2005, with Colombian climber Iván Ramiro Parra climbing to glory. But this time, the finish line will not be painted in one of the picturesque streets of this well-known town in Valtellina – a much appreciated spot for high altitude training – but up the road alongside the Mottolino ski slope.

The final climb is 4.7 kilometres long with an average gradient of 7.7%. The last 2 kilometres are nothing short of devastating: the average gradient is consistently above 10% even though the road has steep ramps interspersed with short, less demanding sections. In the last kilometre, the final “wall” touches slopes of up to 19% followed by a brief easing of the gradient and a further stretch leading to the final 50 m straight. Should a crisis hit in these last 2 km, a rider can seriously risk wasting all the good work done in the previous two weeks.

And what about the previous 216 km? Shortly after the start, the riders will tackle the Lodrino climb (3rd cat.) followed by the unprecedented Colle San Zeno (2nd cat., 13.9 km at 6.6%), then up the Val Camonica heading toward Monno and the legendary Mortirolo, a 12.6 km test with an average gradient of 7.6% which, if covered at a high pace, could lead to serious selection in the peloton with more than 67 km left to go. The athletes will then descend towards Grosio and follow the river upstream to the town of Bormio. The next challenge is the ascent to Isolaccia, followed by the demanding climb to Passo di Foscagno (1st cat., 15 km at 6.4%). The summit lies at 9 km to go. After the short descent from Ponte del Rez, the race climbs to Passo di Eira, where the riders will face the aforementioned, terrible, final two kilometres. Let’s get ready for an elimination race.

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