Stage 14 :: Saturday May 23, 2009
172km :: Campi Bisenzio - Bologna
It would baloney for me to make a Bologna joke, so I'll just leave it at that. We run over 4 hills today with a "summit" finish at the top of the Via di San Luca in Bologna, the same finishing straight used at the end of the season for the Giro dell'Emilia (Fahlin).
The Passo della Collina, Valico di Mediano, Valico di Tolè, the Mongardino and the San Luca all await the presence of the peloton to grind their way up and over
Admittedly, these aren't Alpine, Dolomiti or Pyrannean stages by any measure, perhaps another stage in the Ardennes style, but it should be enough to stretch the legs and who doesn't love an uphill finish (Cav) :)
Vai, Gavia, vai!
With this stage, the Giro enters the Appenino, the mountains that run north-south along the center of the boot. The Giro bids adio to Toscana, rides through the across the grain of the mountains, and finishes in the ancient city of Bologna in Emilia-Romagna. Campi Bisenzio, which lies between Firenze and Prato hosts the stage start.
The finish climbs to the Santuario della Madonna di San Luca, which lies to the Southwest of the old city center of Bologna and sits high on the Colle della Guardia. Built in the Baroque style, the sanctuary with its richly ornamented dome shelters a sacred icon depicting the Virgin Mary. The Giro dell’Emilia uses the climb to San Luca as its finish, and the Giro has visited the Sanctuary twice previously. In 1956, Charly Gaul won a climbing time trail on this road, and in 1984, Moreno Argentin celebrated victory in a road stage finishing at the hilltop sanctuary.
(Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 14 Preview at Steephill.tv)
Thanks Surfin' Bird, there's pizza dell'ananas waiting for ya.
Campi Bisenzio, take it away! Oddly, the course doesn't start up hill. It actually begins somewhat flat, and stays that way for, oh, 25km or so, to Capostrada.
Capostrada is the gateway to the first climb of the day, the Passo della Collina at 777m. This baby is 12.6km long, rising 678m from the plain over a medio 5.4% gradient and a maximo 8%
It's a valley run northwards to Ponte della Venturina, before making a sharp western curve in Silla. Charybdis called and said she wouldn't be available for the stage (hahaha... Odyssean humor; it never gets old!)
Silla leads upwards to the Valico di Mediano at 898m. It is 14.7km long rising 569m over a 3.9% average and a 12% max. Are the legs feeling it yet?
It's a technical descent from the Valico di Mediano, although it doesn't look too terribly steep, just winding as hell, and that leads straight to Vergato, the feed zone for the day, situated right at the base of the NEXT climb, the Valico di Tolè
The Valico di Tolè will get you 747m high over it's 14.6km of length. The riders will reclaim 542m of elevation (although they are still 30m shy of the elevation they were at originally on the Collina summit) with only a 3.7% average with an 8% max. The road descends from the Tolè climb to Calderino, where... uh, you guessed it... it CLIMBS again!
The Mongardino is a modest 352m in height, likes Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain. Mr. Mongardino is a whopping 2.1km long with a massive 132m elevation gain with... uh.. what the hell... an average 6.4% gradient and a 12% max! You're a nasty little climb there, Mr. Mongardino!
Once through the traguardo volante in Pontecchio Marconi, we begin curling our way arond Bolgona for the summit finish at the Santuario.
A copy of the Google Earth file used to create these images is available for download here.