Next year's Giro d'Italia features stage finish on the Col du Galibier (+ video)
Big day's racing in prospect on Stage 15 as Italy's Grand Tour crosses the border into France
Next year’s Giro d’Italia will cross the Alps into France for what will be one of the most eagerly anticipated days of the race, with Stage 15 heading over the border for a summit finish at 2,642 metres above sea level on the Col du Galibier.
The stage itself starts on Italian soil in Cesana Torinese, a few kilometres east of the French town of Briançon, and heads towards Susa, where the peloton will begin the ascent of the Colle del Moncenisio.
After crossing into France, the riders will descend through the Val D’Arc before riding through Saint Michel de Maurienne to tackle the Col du Télégraphe then Col du Galibier.
That was where Marco Pantani, the last man to win the Giro and Tour in the same year, sealed his 1998 Tour de France victory to complete that double.
The latter part of the stage tackles the same roads that were the site of one of the more memorable Tour de France stages in recent years, in 2011 when the Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier figured in the first half of a short but punchy 109-kilometre stage that finished on Alpe d’Huez.
Andy Schleck had attacked the previous day when the race finished on the Galibier, the ascent on that day from the opposite direction. The next day, Alberto Contador, who had only an outside chance of the overall, launched an attack that soon had the field split in pieces.
Thomas Voeckler lost the maillot jaune to Schleck that day, with his Europcar team mate Pierre Rolland, relieved of domestique duties mid-stage, taking the stage win on Alpe d’Huez.
Schleck’s tenure of the maillot jaune would be brief however – he lost it to Cadel Evans in the following day’s time trial in Grenoble, and it was the Australian who rode into Paris to claim cycling’s biggest prize the following day.
The full route of the 2013 Giro, which begins in Naples, will be announced in Milan a week on Sunday, the day after the final Monument of the season, La Lombardia.