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Giro d'Italia 2017: Stage 20 preview

Josh Cunningham
25 May 2017

We look ahead to the final decisive road stage of the Giro, featuring the infamous Monte Grappa

Page 2 of 2Giro d'Italia 2016: Stage 20 preview

While the 2,744m Colle Dell'Agnello on stage 19 may have marked the Cima Coppi - the Giro's highest point - stage 20 will take in the the Col de la Bonette, which at 2,715m is a close second. Crucially though, Saturday's stage will also incorporate the Col de Vars and Colle della Lombarda too, which at 2,108 and 2,350m respectively combine to make stage 20 one of the hardest of the Giro. 

The stage profile shows almost no flat whatsoever, with the start in Guillestre immediately hitting the first ramps of the Col de Vars. From there it's a descent to the base of the Bonette, before the 23km climb up to the summit and a 40km descent. The town of Isola marks the start of the final categorised climb, Colle della Lombarda, but after the descent the riders will face a final test, the 2.3km rise up to the finsh line in Sant'Anna di Vinadio which has ramps of up to 11%.

The 134km package totals 4,100m of vertical climbing metres, which is alot by any standards, but at this late stage of the race it will be particularly tough. The fact that the stage is relatively short is welcome because of this, as it will hopefully encourage riders to attack earlier in the stage. Indeed, with Steven Kruijswijk having lost the Maglia Rosa after a crash, it will take lot to overturn Chavez's minute lead but if anyone can do it Nibali can.

The outcome of the stage really depends on how hot for the race for the general classification is contested. If the big players begin their assaults on a higher overall placing early then the pace could be so furious that it is just these elite riders that are left, even as early as the Bonette, in which case the stage will likely be contested as part of their overall battle. It's obvious that attacks will go from the start on the first climb - making warm ups on turbos a key aspect of the stage - but how long it lasts will be decided by the above. 

It's a fine stage to win, and it's a fine stage in which to win - or lose - the Giro. But how it plays out will have to be seen. 

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Page 2 of 2Giro d'Italia 2016: Stage 20 preview