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#PelotonShorts: Stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia

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In the final week of the 2017 Giro d’Italia, the details of which were revealed this week, the climbs keep on coming. The day after the gigantic alpine stage over the Mortirolo and Stelvio, there are only three moderate climbs in the first part of stage 17, but it’s still 219 kilometers long and gradually uphill for the final 75 kilometers. That should prove a relatively “easy” day, but the difficulties return on stage 18.

Words by John Wilcockson/Image by Yuzuru Sunada

This is the biggest Dolomites stage of the Giro’s 100th edition (#Giro100), even though it’s only 137 kilometers in length. In that roughly four hours of racing are five climbs (the Pordoi, Valparola, Gardena, Pinei and Pontives), which aggregate to more than 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) of uphill work, with the finish just 4 (uphill) kilometers after the final summit.

This image from the 2005 Giro shows the top of the Pontives climb, where the Italian Tifosi is a little shocked to see race leader Ivan Basso (in pink jersey here) more than a minute behind his main rival, Paolo Savoldelli, who took over the lead that day and went on to win the ’05 Giro nine days later.

For the record, the climb to Pontives is 9.3 kilometers long at an average grade of 6.9 percent, but kicks up to 12 percent in the final kilometer. Nothing too drastic, but when all those other climbs are behind you with 18 days of racing behind you, that can be the one climb too many….