Stage 16: Bressanone -- Andalo, 132km
Process check: we've had an open thread and a roundtable today, the former of which at least already started the discussion of tomorrow's stage. But let it not be said that we would ever lay down on the job of previewing every stage. Nope. So here's a preview. I'm going to skip some of the niceties and get to the meat of it.
This is a southwesterly meander across Trentino, away from the Dolomites but not the climbing. Andalo is a ski town on the Paganella plateau, and sits at the foot of the Paganella ski area. That pretty much explains why the Giro finishes a stage here. High up, big parking lots, electrical outlets... everything you need for a stage finish.
Here's your orientation:
And a prettier map, if that helps, though remember, south is up and north is down. [Not helpful.]
The climb to Andalo will get the action, but first, there's a somewhat harder ascent of the Passo della Mendola:
Will's scale rates it as the ninth-toughest climb in the Giro, 14km at a pretty steady 6.5%. It's also 70km from the finish. So expect a reduced peloton but probably all of the Bigs sticking together. As for that climb to Andalo, it comes in two helpings -- a large and fearsome main course, and a small but very potent aperitif. The former, let's call it the Fai della Paganella:
And the aperitif:
If you can tell me where the main event will happen, go right ahead. My guess is that you have over 8km of 7.9% slopes on the lower portion of the Paganella climb, represented by the squiggly little switchbacks on the 3D map, and that's where Astana and Movistar will join forces and unleash Hell. Or their version of it, which will probably cause Nibali and Valverde to go out the back. Mission accomplished! But it's a short stage, so even if you think some people are stronger than others, I guess we should allow that almost anything can happen tomorrow.
AmyBC's Food and Wine Pairings
Each stage we bring you suggestions regarding the local fare from AmyBC. Check out her blog Winebookgirl for more.
Wine: Bele Casel Extra Brut Prosecco
The hillside vineyards and winery are situated in the province of Treviso between the small towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiandene in a little known subzone of the Prosecco DOCG-Asolo Superiore.
Food: Lavarone Vezzena cheese
From Slowfood: This cow’s milk cheese is made with milk from two milkings, one of which is skimmed for cream. The technique is the same as for other medium-fat Alpine cheeses, but Vezzena is made unique by the wild herbs of the Lavarone plateau and a long aging. Even when very aged, it still preserves an exceptional buttery smoothness, releasing aromas that change depending on exactly when the cows were pastured. After a year or a year and a half, the eyes disappear and the very yellow paste becomes slightly grainy. The fragrance becomes more complex and herbaceous, spiced notes fill the mouth. It takes time for Vezzena to reach its full potential and for it to be obvious why it is one of the jewels of Trentino cheesemaking and why Emperor Franz Joseph wanted it on his table every day.
Pick to Win
Esteban Chaves. I see Kruijswijk as a benevolent dictator. And the climbs are long enough and the stage short enough to keep the long range attackers close.