Stage 6 :: Thursday May 14, 2009
248km :: Bressanone - Mayrhofen
Hey, you got a Classics course in my Giro! It's all rolling goodness with a couple of climby bits on Stage 6. What should really make things interesting is how long it takes the peloton to get across the border crossing from Italy into Austria. The soigneurs will be busy with the task of making sure everyone has their passports ready in their back pockets when they get...
What? Border crossings aren't important in Europe?
Huh. Well, hey, at least there's a 5km tunnel to keep it interesting! Look at the magnificent Felbertauern Tunnel below the fold.
It's a hilly course moving from Bressanone up into Austria and finishing along the banks of the Ziller river in Mayrhofen ("Zillertal" in German means "Valley of Ziller"). Let's turn to the lovely Gavia for some tappa deets...
More mountains appear on the menu for Stage 6. Though the Giro Centenario moves away from the Dolomiti, the climbing is far from over. Stage 6 begins in Bressanone, which lies up the river Isarco from Bolzano. Bressanone is just another lovely Alpine town, though with 20,000 residents, it’s a bit large to call a town.
From Bressanone, the course heads East, crossing the border into Austria. Once in Austria, the riders will pass through Lienz, then turn North toward Mittersill. Along the way, the course climbs up to the 5 kilometer tunnel through the Felbertauern. There are KOM points on offer just before the tunnel begins. From Mittersill, the course turns west again, climbing over the 1628 meter Hochkrimml, before descending to a flat finish in Mayrhofen.
(Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 6 Preview at Steephill.tv)
Here's the overview. The big white arrows towards the bottom is the border crossing.
This whole thing is far from flat and you can really see the rolling, hilly, Ardennes-like flavor of this course. From Bressanone, through Bruneck and Dobbiaco before going across the border.
Then it continues up the valley to the feed zone in Lienz, makes a hard left turn in town and moves up another valley towards the 5km long Felbertauern Tunnel. I'm guessing they don't have to pay the toll. Seriously though, I am a little curious about car exhaust in the tunnel with the riders, that could suck.
Out of the tunnel, and up yet another valley between the mountains up to the final climb of the day from Wald im Pinzgau to the Hochkrimml at 1628m.
The climb moves up the side of the mountain, hitting a nasty little 12% gradient just before the summit. Unfortunately, it's not a summit finish though.
Once past the Hochkrimml (which, if you speak German, both looks and sounds like it was named by an Austrian), it descends somewhat gradually to a set of switchbacks just above Zal am Zimmer, where the riders will take a sharp bend to the south, following along the Zimmer river, crossing it at one point to ride down the western bank, the coming back across at the Mayerhofen train station (watch out for those tracks).
A couple of nasty curves for the sprinters if a bunch takes it to the line but the finishing straight is just that, pretty straight if I read the time table correct. It should be a nice clean 800m at least to the finish on Ahornstrasse.
A copy of the Google Earth file used to create these images is available for download here.