STAGE 19, PENULTIMATE DAY
OF ACTION IN THE MOUNTAINS.
Tomorrow’s Queen Stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia will take in three challenging climbs, including the partially unpaved Colle delle Finestre (Cima Coppi), before a final haul up the insanely steep Monte Jafferau. A day for the happy few who can ride uphill, and a chance for a pure climber to take the stage.
The 184-kilometer stage 19 takes in 3,500 vertical meters over four climbs. Two of the climbs, Colle del Lys and Colle Sestriere, are not to fear, but they are compensated by the ferociousness of both the Finestre and the Jafferau.
The first real demanding climb is the Colle delle Finestre, which comes after 92 kilometers of racing. The killer on the Finestre is its steadiness combined with its sheer length – an 18.5 kilometer climb with an average gradient of 9.4% and steepest sector of 14%, with asphalt giving way to a dirt road for the final 9 kilometers before the summit, and close to 60 hairpins along the way.
At an elevation of 2,178 meters above sea level, the Finestre is the Cima Coppi, the highest point of the Giro d’Italia. Each year, a prize is awarded to the first rider to reach the highest summit of the Giro. The road up the Finestre was built in the 17th century to gain access to the fortresses in the area.
The stage finishes on the short but insanely steep slopes of Monte Jafferau, situated above the ski resort of Bardonecchia. It’s a demanding climb of 7.2 kilometers with an average gradient of more than 9%, with the last 1.5 kilometers averaging 10.5%. The gradient hits 14% at the base and barely relents thereafter.
RECON OF COLLE DELLE FINESTRE
May 23, 2018 – While I was driving back after an amazing day at the Giro stage 17, Ashley and Jered Gruber sent me a message saying, “Rode up the Finestre today! Cold, snowy, muddy, dirty, and so wet.” Later in the evening, a batch of images popped into my inbox, and wow, the Queen Stage looks likely to be even more epic under these conditions.
“I can’t believe it was 2015 when we last saw the Finestre. We rode up it today to get a feel for what might be in store for Friday. It was cold, really snowy, and the smooth-ish dirt is so, so wet, sometimes muddy, always soft. I swear it makes that 9% average gradient feel closer to 12%.” – Jered Gruber.
COLLE DELLE FINESTRE
Distance: 17.8 km
Average Gradient: 9.4%
Maximum Gradient: 14%
Elevation Gain: 1,688 meters