The Queen Stage of the 2012 Giro, and one that will be keenly anticipated by fans of the race, whether in Italy or abroad – which is just as well, because in keeping with RCS Sport’s innovative use of social media to involve the tifosi in the race, it was the fans themselves who determined two of the climbs to be included today via Facebook and Twitter.
In his video preview Dan Lloyd of Team IG Sigma Sport rides the Stelvio in the snow and explains how the pros will attempt to deal with the demands of the toughest day at this year's Giro with almost three weeks of hard racing in their legs, fueling strategies, gearing and the caluclations of those in the gruppeto who simply need to finish the stage inside the time limit to make sure they are around for the final day's time trial - something that will be crucial for Mark Cavendish in his battle for the points jersey.
Those climbs are the Mortirolo and the Passo dello Stelvio, the latter providing the summit finish and, as the highest point of this year’s race, is also designated the Cima Coppi. Featuring 35km of climbing immediately after the descent from the Mortirolo, it’s the very last chance for someone to gain time – or limit losses – before the closing time trial. It should be some stage.
GT: It’s the toughest day of the race, because it means we’re going to be dropped sooner, so we’ll be riding for a lot longer. But for the GC guys, this is a massive day really, guys could win the Giro or lose it. The thought of this stage won’t have shaped the previous few days’ racing, you’ve just got to take each day as it comes – as soon as you start thinking about days coming up, it can start having a negative effect. I think you’ll get a few GC teams trying to send riders up the road here so they’re around to help out when it comes to the back end of the race. Everybody’s going to be tired by now, it’s just about whoever can deal with it best.
For more on this year's race read our full Giro d'Italia Preview.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.