Giro d’Italia 2013: Stage 20
When: Saturday, May 25
To: Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Category: High mountains
ROUTE ALTERED DUE TO SNOW
May 24: Passo di Costalunga, Passo di San Pellegrino and Passo Giau all removed from originally planned route due to heavy snowfall.
The Tre Cime di Lavaredo is a potentially perfect final act: a tough and historical climb under the distinctive Dolomite peaks.
From Misurina, the road climbs from 1,757 to 2,304m. It’s not so much the average gradient, 8.6 per cent, but the steep 18 per cent kicks and road conditions. If you want to focus on averages, in the final 4km it’s 12.1 per cent.
Its debut in 1967 was annulled due to snow and overzealous tifosi. In 1968, Eddy Merckx used it as a springboard to his first Grand Tour win. Its infrequent use, only appearing four more times, adds charm. The memory of the last visit in 2007 was spoiled when stage winner Riccardo Ricco later tested positive for doping. Tre Cime deserves more respect.
The Tre Cime – Piccola, Grande and Ovest – once formed the border between Italy and Austria. They still divide German and Italian-speaking Italy. At 2,304m, you see what life might have been like for a serviceman in World War One. Manmade caves and forts dot the cold dolostone.