Stage 14 :: Sunday May 24, 2009
161km :: Forlì - Faenza
When I first saw the Gazzetta map for this stage, I thought "oh, they put an easy one in there, nice and short, to give the rider's a rest". I was so, so very wrong. I also happen to really like the names of the start / finish cities; they do sound awfully Italian, although I confess to not knowing how to handle an accented "i".
Even some of the descents on this stage have ascents in them, and while it ends a mere 20km down the Viale Bologna from where it starts, it has 75.5km of rated climbs in the middle, each of which has a double digit max gradient.
RCS wanted to give us a show for the century, and I think they are doing just that. Let's get more in depth under the fold...
Gavia, as usual, has far more informative things to say on this than I do.
Stage 15 starts southeast of Bologna in Forlì. The race spends the day in the northern foothills of the Appenino, in the region of Emilia-Romagna. Gazzetta compares today’s profile to a “cardiogram,” and rightly so, as it’s up and down from start to finish. None of these climbs alone are especially difficult, but taken together, they add up to a hard day of racing. The general classification rides will want to save their legs as much as possible, as stage 16 is truly mountainous.
The stage departs from the Piazza Safi di Forlì, before heading into the hills. Tullo Morgagni, one of the organizers with Armando Cougnet and Eugenio Costamagna of the first Giro d’Italia, was a native of Forlì, and the stage start celebrates his contribution to the race’s history. Arnaldo Pambianco di Bertinoro, the winner of the 1961 Giro, which commemorated the centenary of Italian unification, also came from the city.
Faenza has hosted two recent stage finishes. In 1970, Michele Cancelli won here, and in 2003, Kurt Asle Arvesen celebrated a stage victory in the city. The finish is at the Piazza del Popolo, which dates from the middle ages. Faenza is known for its annual medieaval games, the Palio del Niballo, a jousting tournament held every July. Faenza fun fact! Evangelista Torricelli, the inventor of the barometer, comes from Faenza.
(Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 15 Preview at Steephill.tv)
There you see it... not much separates the start and finish on the course, other than that wicked loop through the Appenines to the southwest. The red line leading out of Forlì can only mean one thing: it's another uphill start.
Through Dovadola and San Benedetto in Alpe, they crest the Passo dell"Eremo at 921m. The official course guide lists the climb at only 10.7km in length as they start it in San Benedetto in Alpe, but it's an uphill gradient all the way from Forlì to the summit here which is actually 54.8km. The average gradient is 4.0% with a maximum at 10%.
Great, so, you lead the initial breakaway over the first climb to get you some KOM points, you're ready to take a nice break on the downward slope before the next climb. SUCKER... this down ain't so down with going down.
And then, once you've recovered from the effort of your "descent", you're in Marradi and it's time to climb up to the Colle Carnevale at 701m.
Colle Carnevale is 6.0km long from Marradi to the summit. It rises 373m in elevation but has a nasty 6.2% medio and a 10% maximo gradient.
There's a chance now to catch the breath as the descent into Palazolo sul Senio is an actual down hill, followed by a regular valley run out through some relatively easy rolling terrain.
Again you can see that, once the rider's have finished getting their Frappucinos from their Barristas, it climbs up the valley wall again. It's not a rated climb, but every bit of uphill at this point has to really be a kick in the pants.
Finally through the Intermediate Sprint in Brisighella, false flat becomes rated climb up to Monte Casale at 494m. Yet another one of these ugly little sharp ascents. 406m of elevation gain over 8.7m for an average 4.7% but some naughty 12% section in there as well.
And then it's down and back up again from Mondigliana to the Monte Trebbio at 585m (6.0km long, 400m elevation gain, 6.7% avg :: 16% max).
Now it's downhills and flats to the finish in Faenza... San Savino becomes Santa Lucia delle Spianate (Saint Lucy of the Spinach?) finally becomes Faenza.
And there you go, just 20km from where you started. Not much of a transfer stage was it :)
A copy of the Google Earth file used to create these images is available for download here.