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Watch: How the Stelvio gets cleared ahead of the cycling season

Stelvio hairpin
Joe Robinson
23 Apr 2018

Strategic explosions used to clear Stelvio of snow ahead of cycling season

The Passo dello Stelvio is one of cycling's most famous climbs. Tucked away in the Italian Alps, at 48km long with 70 hairpin bends it has played host to some of cycling's most incredible battles.

A true giant, the peak of the climb reaches 2,757m high, an altitude in which the air is noticeably thinner. So high up, the Stelvio is also susceptible to adverse weather with snow often coating the top half of the climb for most months of the year. 

The question is, when the climb is listed en route how do they clear the climb of snow ahead of the Giro d'Italia's arrival in May? 

It seems as if they use explosives.

In a video posted on twitter, a helicopter films the upper slopes of the mountain pass erupting into a large avalanche after a small explosion at the top.

The controlled explosion sees the snow shift at the top of the mountain before cascading down, gathering speed and size, clearing much of the thick snow at the mountain's peak.

Towards the end of the video, the clearing snow reveals the snaking road shape of the climb which was previously hidden.

Unfortunately, the Passo dello Stelvio will not be in this year's Giro d'Italia after its double passage in 2017. Instead, the race for the pink jersey will take on another fearsome climb in the north of Italy, Monte Zoncolan.

The Giro d'Italia starts on Friday 4th May in Jerusalem, Israel finishing on Sunday 27th May in Rome, Italy.

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