Giro d'Italia 2013: Stage 15 preview
Giro d'Italia 2013: Stage 15
When: Sunday, May 19
From: Cesana Torinese
To: Col du Galibier (Valloire)
Category: High mountains
MAY 18 UPDATE: Col du Galibier and Col du Mont Cenis cut from stage 15 route due to snow. Full story here>>
One hundred and two years after the Tour de France first passed, the Giro will visit the Col du Galibier in France. The stage will finish at the top, at 2,642m, which will be a first from the 18.1km northern side.
In 2011, when Andy Schleck was crowned king of the mountain, the Tour approached the southern route, although they crossed back over the next day.
The organiser is using the day to commemorate Marco Pantani. In 1998, he shot clear on the northern face, won the stage and yellow jersey in Les Deux Alpes. He went on to win the race, completing a rare Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double, although his story is complicated by allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
The GC riders first on the stage - including the Col du Mont Cenis and Télégraphe beforehand - will be poised to win the Giro in one week's time. It's no easy task; the Télégraphe averages 7.2 per cent over 12km and Galibier 8.4 per cent over the final 7.8km.
With the passing of time, the Galibier has risen. Until 1976, the peak was pierced by a tunnel 365m long. Now the road climbs another kilometre at 10 per cent. The tunnel has been reopened, but not for cyclists, who must - rightly so - go over the top.