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A voi! Stage 20: Gravel-grinding the Finestre

Saint Vincent - Sestriere 199 km Difficulty rating: ★★★★


It's always a bit of a gamble putting the most attractive stage at the very end. You run the risk of a situation like we have now with a GC all but decided. The Colle delle Finestre is definitely the toughest climb in this years race but with the gaps the way they are it isn't likely to cause massive shifts at the top but this still promises to be a cracker of a stage. Unlike Stage 19 it isn't a climbing marathon, it's more a slow buildup to the major fireworks in the last 50 kilometers.


Finestre itself is making its third appearance in the Giro. The first introduction was the classic 2005 stage that saw the trio of Simoni, Rujano and DiLuca duking it out while further down Savoldelli staged a desperate and ultimately successful defense of his overall lead. Already there it was clear that this was destined to become one of the Giro's most iconic climbs, right up there with Gavia, Mortirolo and Stelvio. The length and difficulty combined with the 8 km of sterrato (gravel road) on the top hairpins and the beauty make it a magic climb.


After Finestre comes an easy descent and another gentle final climb up to Sestrieres. Whoever is left at the front will likely have to depend on smart attacking or accumulated fatigue in the opponents to take the win because the climb itself isn't hard enough to give anyone a decisive edge. We could see a fairly similar finish as the Mortirolo stage.

Chi vincerà?

Alberto Contador: He may have won the Giro by now but this is a stage everyone will want their name on. Count on him being in better shape at this point than his Astana opponents and don't even think any minor players should be allowed to run off with this. That said that is exactly what happened last time the climb was included and Contador held an untouchable (by anyone but anti-doping authorities as it would turn out) led in the race. That time Kiriyenka won the day with an insanely impressive breakaway effort but I'm going out on a limb saying we won't see a repeat of that.