This year’s 100th anniversary Giro d’Italia visits some of the great Italian cities, including Feltre (the home town of Castelli) which will be hosting the Castelli24h race on June 12-13.
Tomorrow, the Giro will hit the first mountains with Croce d’Aune as the first climb. You may recognize this as the name of a Campagnolo component group in the late 1980s. This is due to the fact that it was at the top of this very pass that Tullio Campagnolo got the idea of the quick-release skewer. He was competing in a springtime race in the 1930s that included the Passo Croce d’Aune. At the time, riders had single-speed bikes with a cog on either side of the rear wheel of different sizes. They rode up the passes with the larger cog and flipped the wheel around at the top to take advantage of the smaller cog for the descent. On this fateful day, it was snowing and cold. Tullio’s hands were too frozen to unscrew the wing nuts on the rear wheel. As a solution to this problem, he invented the quick-release skewer.
Its pretty much an average Giro stage with great rolling hills from Padova to Maser before coming into Feltre after 111km of riding and starting the climb of 8,5km, with an average gradient on 8,5%. Croce d’Aune is one of the harder 2nd category climbs. The road starts out hard from Pedavena (also the name and home town of one of the bigger breweries in Italy) with an average gradient on 10% as it moves out of town.
The climb is actually really entertaining throughout. It starts in town, moves up through the lush forests and open mountainside. After a couple of kilometers between houses and forest, the road widens and leveling off the gradient a bit. When reaching the summit, the monument of Tullio Campagnolo will show up on the right hand side.
Starting descending, the views heading down are spectacular during the first 3-4km. The following 24 km are all in the valley of Imer and Fiera di Primero before starting climbing again, the last 13,7 km to the finish at San Martino di Castrozza.