Today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia is a 26.8km (16.75 miles) mountain time trial, Bassano del Grappa – Cima Grappa, which poses interesting bike and equipment choices for the teams. GNC have produced a video looking at what we’re likely to see out on the road.
The route is essentially up Monte Grappa, which is a 19.2km (12 miles) switchback climb to 1,712m at an average gradient of 8% and a maximum gradient of 14%. However, the first 7km (4 miles) are more or less flat.
In most individual time trials riders obviously go for a time trial bike where the bike itself, along with the rider’s position, are designed to be as aerodynamic as possible.
But time trial bikes are heavier than road bikes so they’re not always the better option when the route is uphill. Plus, riders might spend a lot of time out of the saddle during a mountain time trial, and that’s easier on a road bike.
Then there’s that initial flat 7km (4 miles) to consider. It would definitely be quicker to tackle that on a TT bike. We might only be talking about seconds here, but an individual time trial is likely to be decided by seconds, as might the entire race.
All that means that the riders and their teams – or at least those wanting to make an impact today – have some important choices to make. Road bike or time trial bike, or swap bikes along the way? Normal bars or the addition of clip-on aero bars? Deep-section or lightweight wheels? Aero helmet or standard helmet? And will all the riders on the team follow the same strategy?
Check out the video to see what they’ve decided.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.