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The Sappada finale betwen climbs and biathlon


There could not have been a better year to visit the Carnia Biathlon Arena. Stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia 2024, the 157 km Mortegliano-Sappada, will pass through this facility, one of the cradles of Italian biathlon, in Lisa Vittozzi‘s magical year. The local girl has recently won the overall biathlon World Cup and the individual World Championships in Nové Město, making 2024 the best season of her career. The Corsa Rosa will thus pay tribute to her at the right time.

The first 100 km are predominantly flat, while the last 57 km leave little room to breathe. First there is the short but very hard Passo Duron (2nd cat., 4.4 km at 9.6%), followed by the climbs of Sella Valcalda (3rd cat., 6.5 km at 5.9%) and Cima Sappada (2nd cat., 7.4 km at 5.4%).

It is precisely on this last climb that the riders will cross the Carnia Biathlon Arena, where the toughest part of the ascent will begin. The last 2.8 kilometres of the climb, in fact, have an average gradient of 8.5%, perfect ground for both stage win and GC battles.


Sappada is linked to one of the most shocking moments in the history of the Giro d’Italia: Stephen Roche’s “betrayal” against Roberto Visentini in 1987. The Irish rider attacked his Carrera team-mate, who was in the Maglia Rosa and was the reigning champion, sending him into a crisis on the way up to Cima Sappada and snatching the leadership symbol. The two raced against each other for the rest of the Giro, with overall victory going to Roche, and Visentini being forced to retire due to a crash.

The most recent arrival in Sappada, back in 2018, provided Simon Yates’ solo victory in the Maglia Rosa. The day before, Chris Froome had soloed to victory on the Zoncolan, recovering a few seconds from his countryman, thus Yates felt like he had to prove once again he was the strongest up to that point, and gained another 40″ on all his rivals. That Giro had been literally dominated by the art twin, who won three stages, until the resounding crisis on the Colle delle Finestre stage, which led to Froome’s unforgettable achievement.

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