Photo essay: On the Mortirolo… savage climbing, suffering & helping hands

Chosen by the tifosi and chosen by Phil Gale too the iconic climb delivers some memorable pictures

by Philip Gale   May 28, 2012  

The result of this year's Giro d'Italia came down to two crucial stages one in the mountains and one in the streets of Milan this weekend - Phil Gale and his camera were at both to capture a gallery of stunning pictures of the action to give you a real flavour of the action.

First up is Saturday's queen stage of the race featuring climbs nominated by the race fans on Twitter and Facebook - the stage, possibly the toughest in Giro history culminated with a climb of the Stelvio and the highest finish the race has ever seen (check out Dan Lloyd's video preview for a flavour of what lay in store on the Stelvio). Before the Stelvio though came the super steep Mortirolo 56Km from the finish and the point where Thomas de Gendt launched the decisive move of the day to ride to the stage win and on to the podium. Indeed after the Belgian's heroics in the mountains for many people he became the most credible challenger to Ryder Hesjedal for the overall win.

The tifosi chose the Mortirolo and as Phil's pictures show they were out in force on the mountain where in places the gradient is as steep as 23 per cent to lend support and in many cases a helping hand to riders and even team cars struggling in the fight against gravity. As you can also see from the shots the road on the Mortitorolo isn't a super-smooth strip of tarmac snaking up the mountain - for much of it's length it is little more than a singletrack lane of rough concrete slabs regularly bisected with drainage channels…

Oliver Zaugg leads the way
 

The tifosi were out in force

Everyone had to focus

A little assistance on the steepest section

…even the cars needed a little push

Gasparotto digs deep

De Gendt looks strong

Ryder Hesjedal digs deep over the 23 percent gradient

Cav - certainly not his terrain but looking good

Chewing on his tongue to get to the top

Making the most of the descents… it was uphill all the way for the last 30km

4 user comments

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Some great pictures.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3079 posts]
28th May 2012 - 21:31

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quite a few compact chainsets in use there - so they are human after all.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [790 posts]
29th May 2012 - 8:34

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Never got to see any of this climb on Eurosport Crying as I only had time for the highlights.

It tells you something when the cars need a bit of a push up lol.

posted by Marauder [239 posts]
29th May 2012 - 9:05

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Certainly not the kind of thing I'd like to tackle after almost three weeks' racing!!! Chapeaux to them all! Applause

Fran the Man

posted by Fran The Man [63 posts]
29th May 2012 - 12:57

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