Organisers of the Giro d’Italia have announced that the Queen Stage of next year’s race, on Saturday 25 May, will see the riders climb a total of 5,900 metres, with ascents of the Aprica and Mortirolo ahead of a summit finish on the Stelvio, with the climbs selected by fans of the race. As the penultimate stage, it will almost certainly decide the destination of the maglia rosa.
This year’s Giro was overshadowed by the death of Leopard Trek rider Wouter Weylandt following a crash on a descent during Stage 3, and later in the race the planned climb and descent of Monte Crostis was abandoned at the eleventh hour due to safety concerns, with organisers coming under criticism from riders and teams alike.
The fallout from those problems helped lead to the departure of race director Angelo Zomegnan. He has been replaced by Michele Acquarone, who is reportedly keen to return to a less controversial route.
The inclusion of the Mortirolo and Stelvio next year though is due entirely to fans of the race, who were invited through Facebook and Twitter to vote for the Giro’s greatest climbs for what organisers are calling the “Fan Stage” of the race.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Stelvio has been designated the Cima Coppi for the highest summit finish of the race, at 2,757 metres. Some 22.4 kilometres long with an average gradient of 6.9 per cent, rising to around 12 per cent in places.
The race has tackled the Stelvio nine times, the first being in 1953 when Fausto Coppi himself took the stage on his way to his fifth and final overall victory in the Giro.
The full route of the 2012 Giro d’Italia will be unveiled in Milan on Sunday 16 October, the day after the Giro di Lombardia, in front of an audience including this year’s winner, Alberto Contador.
Two days later in Paris, ASO, organisers of the Tour de France, will reveal the full route of next year’s edition of that race, which starts across the border in the Belgian city of Liege.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.