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Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) won stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia on Friday in Pescara, Italy. Hansen attacked from the day’s long breakaway to win solo after a wet, wild 177 kilometers.
Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) finished with the first chase group and pulled on the overall leader’s maglia rosa. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) moved up to second and third overall, five and eight seconds adrift, respectively.
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) crashed on the descent from the Cat. 4 San Silvestro climb and lost big time on the stage. He finished in a group with overnight leader Luca Paolini (Katusha), more than a minute down.
The Giro d’Italia continues Saturday with the 54.8km stage 8 individual time trial from Gabicce Mare to Saltara.
Hansen makes the break and thinks about the finish
Six riders made up the day’s long escape: Hansen, Dominique Rollin (FDJ), Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Maarten Tajallingii (Blanco), and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM).
The group pushed out to more than seven minutes and Hansen said after the stage that with four short, categorized climbs ahead, he began to think about the finish.
“Normally I’m pretty good in a breakaway. When we had good time, I thought I had a good chance,” he said. “I don’t usually climb so bad, against specialists it’s another story, but in the breakaway, I’m not bad.”
The group carried more than two minutes onto the Cat. 3 Chieti-Pietragrossa with 39km to go.
Rigoberto Urán crashed on the steep Pietragrossa ramp after a rider in front of him slowed suddenly. The Colombian quickly remounted and stayed with the peloton.
Up front, Sella took top points at the day’s second of four categorized climbs to narrow his gap to mountains leader Giovanni Visconti (Movistar).
Fabio Taborre (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) launched a bid to bridge across to the breakaway with 35km to go.
Moments later, Hansen pushed the pace in the breakaway on the Chieti-Tricalle climb, splitting the group. Sella was the only rider able to follow, tucked in behind the big Lotto all-rounder on the climb.
Taborre pushed his way up the Tricalle ramp, just 100 meters ahead of the bunch. Behind him, the peloton exploded on the climb. Overall leader Paolini hung tight, six wheels from the back of the bunch.
Sella took top points on the climb and led down the upper portion of the descent, but the rain began to fall and trouble struck when he led into a tight, right-hand corner. Sella locked up his brakes and went down on the outside of the turn, leaving Hansen on his own.
The Lotto man continued on, but soft-pedaled and waited for his companion to rejoin him.
Sky led the bunch with three riders, Blanco and Lampre-Merida lined up behind them with 25.8km.
Taborre continued to push, joining Tamouridis 2:04 behind the leaders with 25.5km to go. Ligthart, Tjallingii, and Rollin were up the road a further minute.
Hansen went alone on the Cat. 3 Santa Maria de Criptis, less than 1:30 ahead of the peloton, and took top points on the climb. Sella was second over the line, but could not close the gap to Hansen. The Aussie was gone.
Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini) surged partway up the climb and rode clear to Taborre, but Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) closed the gap quickly and split the peloton. The Vini Fantini breakaway man led over the top of the climb, with roughly 15 riders following. The peloton was soon back together. The three major GC favorites were each there: Nibali, Wiggins, and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp).
Up front, Hansen pushed hard down the descent to the day’s final climb, the Cat. 4 San Silvestro, searching for the line between speed and balance on the pooling tarmac. He held 2:05 on the peloton with 15km remaining.
“Lotto-Belisol’s won a stage here the last four years,” he said after the stage. “In the pre-race meeting, Marc Sergent said, ‘One of you will win,’ and I thought, ‘why not me?’”
Tanel Kangert (Astana) attacked from the bunch and went solo. Behind him, Peter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge), Scarponi, and Robert Kiserlosvski (RadioShack-Leopard) launched. With the latter two outside GC contenders, the move sparked a reaction from Blanco. Steven Kruijswijk led the chase for teammate Robert Gesink in the peloton.
Meanwhile, Hansen had 1:15 on Sella and 2:47 on Kangert with 9km to go.
Nibali rolled past the Blanco tandem on the left on the descent with 8.5km to go and quickly distanced them. Yuri Tofimov (Katusha) followed and the surge put stress on the peloton and a number of riders overshot a left-hand corner, one man from Androni Giocattoli going down.
But soon it was Nibali’s turn to hit the pavement. As soon as he laid his bike into a wet, left-hand bend, the Sicilian was down, sliding 30 feet across the road. Tofimov went down as well. The pair remounted, their advantage erased.
Wiggins crashes on the San Silvestro descent
Hansen kept pushing up front on the San Silvestro, holding roughly 50 seconds on Sella over the top. Sella crashed again on the descent, however, and the Weening group caught him. The peloton was just behind the chasers heading through the slick, right-hand bend and it was soon just Hansen alone off the front.
That’s when disaster struck for Sky’s Tour de France champion. Wiggins went down in the same spot Sella had trouble and quickly remounted. He gingerly pushed on, appearing to take no risks on the descent as he rode behind his GC rivals.
Lampre took up the pace-making in the reduced peloton and drove hard for Pescara. Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) was in the group, as were second overall Intxausti, Hesjedal, and Nibali.
Pablo Urtusan and Sergio Henao dropped back to Wiggins and paced the 2012 Tour champion. Up ahead, Blanco took over the work in the small GC group, pushing for the line with roughly 30 riders. They were putting time into Sky’s captain ahead of Saturday’s stage 8 time trial — the day Wiggins was expected by many to take pink.
Hansen wasn’t thinking about any of this, however. The race for the overall wasn’t important. The biggest win of his career, the day before his 32nd birthday, was.
“We thought today would be the best day to be in the break,” he said. “This is the biggest win of my life. It’s a very special day. Tomorrow is my birthday, this is a good present for myself. This means a lot to me, I was very emotional when I crossed the line. I never thought this would ever happen.”
Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox led out the sprint and Enrico Battaglin was second. Di Luca was third, leaving no bonus seconds for the top GC men. From then, the clock ticked in wait for Wiggins and the pink jersey.
Wiggins joined a group of roughly 20 riders on the run-in to the finish and crossed the line on the same time of Paolini, more than a minute down on the big GC group. The time loss dropped Wiggins from the top 20 in the overall.
- Looking at the course layout I am wondering where the best area for racers to park will be for this evening? Any thoughts?
Two weeks ago, Rebecca Rusch solidified her legendary status as the “Queen of Pain” by establishing a new record in completing the Kokopelli Trail from Moab, Utah to Loma, Colorado. Rusch covered the 142 miles in 13:32:47, smashing the old record, and her own goal of 15 hours.
Complicating this “adventure race of one” was the fact that Rusch had not seen a single mile of the trail prior to her ride on April 27, and conditions could have made this already epic event nearly impossible. While numbers alone don’t tell a story, they do help us understand the physical and mental toll a ride like this can take. Rusch graciously allowed TrainingPeaks to dig into her power file and see how the numbers corresponded with her experience.
View Rusch’s full Quarq power data at TrainingPeaks.
First off, 142 miles is a long way no matter what bike you’re on. Add in the 17,100 ft. of elevation gain recorded by Rusch’s Garmin and the real challenge begins to show itself in entirety. In the first three hours, Rusch covered 30 miles at an average power of 199w. That equates out to 3.2 watts/kg, a very strong output to start when you consider that there would be 10 more hours of riding.
One reason for this high output but relatively slow pace was that she also gained 6,246 ft. during that time. That means she covered 36 percent of the elevation gain in the first 21 percent of the trail. It was no accident that Rusch put out such a big effort off the bat.
“I was glad that the big climbs were in the beginning when I was fresh and the temps were cool,” Rusch said. “My strategy was to go quite hard on the beginning climbs to allow for the inevitable slowing that happens after many hours in the saddle. Of course, I felt the effects in later miles, but was still able to stay pretty consistent in speed even as my power wore off.”
While Rusch had power available, she opted not to view her power or heart rate during the ride. “My pacing strategy was based 100 percent on average miles per hour I would need to maintain to hit the 15-hour target and my own perceived exertion and pacing experience,” Rusch said. “I specifically elected NOT to be able to see my heart rate or power numbers on the Garmin 810 screen during the ride.”
That doesn’t mean power was not important to Rusch when it came to preparing for this feat. She works with coach Dean Golich of Carmichael Training Systems, who Rusch describes as being “all about power.” For athletes like Rusch, who have a wealth of experience training and racing in “pre-power meter days,” being able to “feel” whether an effort is sustainable is a vitally important skill. However, these athletes are able to fine tune their RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) and then be even more efficient using a power meter. The combination of a strong understanding of internal signals coupled with knowledge of how to use the external data works best. As Rusch says, “My training, however, is very much based on power and hitting certain numbers for certain blocks of time. I love it for training, but I don’t let power dictate my race strategy.”
Nonetheless, Rusch was amazingly consistent given the distance and topography of the course. For the first 69 miles she averaged 144 watts, or 2.3 watts/kg. In the second half of the ride, she still averaged 127 watts, or 2.0 watts/kg. Given the difficulty of the first miles and that Rusch hit those miles hard, that is pretty even pacing overall. That said, Rusch certainly felt the fatigue at the end. In her last hour she averaged only 96 watts, covering 8.79 miles and gaining 758 ft. Her cadence also dropped and there were longer periods of coasting.
A big key to staying consistent throughout the miles is nutrition. The fittest athlete can come undone by a bad stomach. Since her ride was completely unsupported, Rusch had to carry every calorie with her and relied on filtering stream water for hydration. Based on the kilojoules expenditure from her Quarq, we can see that over the ride Rusch burned 6,664 calories, a rate of around 500 cals/hr. Of course it is impossible to replenish exactly what you lose, and each athlete has their own ability to tolerate calories. In total, Rusch took down 3140 calories through a mix of GU products, Honey Stinger Protein bars, and some special treats. In her post-race write up, Rusch said she felt no stomach issues and her nutrition strategy worked perfectly.
Overall, the ride registered a Training Stress Score (TSS) of 775, the equivalent of doing nearly eight 40K time trials back to back at 100 percent effort. Rusch’s TSS nearly doubles that of a typical “big day” for Tour de France riders, who average in the range of 250-400 TSS per stage. To put it into context of a typical amateur racer, in one day she accomplished a TSS value that many would be proud to have for a week of riding. A few other impressive data points: the ride was at an average of 5,399 ft., she topped out at 8609 ft., her average speed was 10.21 mph, and she hit a top speed of 40.86 mph.
So how does one train for an event like this? Living in Sun Valley, Idaho presented some challenges for such a big endeavor early in the year. While Rusch didn’t get to train as much as she wanted, her consistency over the years was a big key. Rusch got in her typical winter training of indoor rides, XC and backcountry skiing and a few road miles as well. But specificity is a key element and Rusch did get a few mountain bike events in.
“The only mountain bike training I was able to do in preparation for this was Trans Andes stage race in Chile, 24 hrs of Old Pueblo and Sea Otter,” said Rusch. “I’ve been an endurance athlete for a very long time, so I have to admit I was relying heavily on experience and endurance that I already had, because I am surely never as fit in April as I might be in August.”
Rusch described the feat as “a near perfect adventure, even with crashing and dislocating my finger and having a light malfunction.” Long distance rides will always be about the adventure and testing your limits, not about mechanically putting out watts. But a look into the numbers can provide a new perspective and re-affirm the internal signals you received on the journey. They can tell you if you bonked because you didn’t have enough calories, went out too hard or just weren’t prepared enough. In that, they help you to be better prepared for your next adventure — no matter how epic it may be.
Editor’s Note: Throughout the 2013 racing season, TrainingPeaks is providing race data analysis from major events including the Spring Classics, the Tour de France, the USA Pro Challenge, and more. To view all TrainingPeaks power analyses, visit our Training Center.
- When we caught wind of a team of women known for racing in jean shorts and having a blast doing it, we had to find out more. The teammates sat down and answered a few of our questions, including, “how the heck do you wear jean shorts and race?!” Cyclocross Magazine: Tell me about the [...]
In January 1910, only months from the start of the Tour de France, Alphones Steinès, the course designer under the leadership of organizer Henri Desgrange, set off to find some high mountain passes to add new flavor to the Tour route. It was an idea he had pestered Desgrange with for years; whereas Desgrange was afraid the racers would be incapable of riding over high passes in inhumane conditions making the Tour a farce, Steinès felt that placing such magnificent obstacles in the way of these men would allow them to demonstrate an unfathomable ability to ascend and, in so doing, grow the public’s adulation for their athleticism, will, and determination.
Steinès headed for the Pyrenees, on a mission to evaluate roads and conditions and report back to Desgrange.
In Pau, in southern France, he hired a driver and set out for the Col du Tourmalet, buried under Pyrenean snows so deep that the pair couldn’t drive but halfway up the highest road in the range. Steinès abandoned the car — and, it would seem, any sense of safety — and, with the aid of a shepherd, managed to find his way to the summit, only to become disoriented in the growing darkness and fall into a ravine. At 3 a.m. he was discovered by a search party. The next morning, he sent a telegram to Desgrange: “No trouble crossing the Tourmalet. Roads satisfactory. No snow.”
And so it was that the Pyrenean cols of the Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, and Aubisque found a place in the 1910 Tour, and Tour history forevermore. It may have also been the birth of cycling’s obsession with climbing the most precipitous, arduous, soul-wrenching ramps on the Earth’s topography.
Here in Boulder, Colorado, we have equally sick individuals to Steinès, those who like to reach into the depths of themselves, or others (these are the promoters), and tap great athleticism, will, determination, strength, stupidity, and that all important quality of pain tolerance. In 1910, a climbing revolution began, and it rages on today as the lithe among us try to cram as many meters of vertical gain into as few miles as any map will allow.
Enter the Fearsome Five. Boulder county has its fair share of precipitous steep canyon climbs, and the F5 is an attempt to take in as many of them as possible, while keeping the ride as close to 100 miles as possible. Mark Lowe, a member of the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club, routed us over the five devils in as cruel a configuration (http://app.strava.com/activities/52589598) as he could imagine. We gathered in downtown Boulder on a chilly Sunday morning. Casual chatter was mixed with curious glances toward gearing choice. Then, with Mark’s gentle words about the torture that we were about to face, we rolled out, north through town to the first of what would actually be eight distinct climbs. Five of them are monsters, and, in total, those who would finish would climb nearly 16,500 feet. Who could really say, but some suggested it was the hardest century in the U.S.
Maybe their names don’t ring out like Tourmalet and Aubisque, but the details of these climbs are, nonetheless, impressive.
Olde Stage Road: 2.9 miles at 4.8% (16% maximum)
SuperJames: 9.4 miles at 5.2% (11% maximum)
West Lee Hill: 1.3 miles at 7.1% (15% maximum)
Bow Mountain: 2.8 miles at 6.7% (18% maximum)
Sunshine Canyon: 9.0 miles at 6.2% (12% maximum)
Sugarloaf Mountain: 4.7 miles at 7.6% (12% maximum)
Magnolia Road: 4.5 miles at 9.1% (17% maximum)
SuperFlagstaff: 4.6 miles at 8.2% (14% maximum)
A lead group of five, myself included, quickly established itself, despite any attempt to distance the 30 other riders in this challenge. That’s the thing about a ride like this; yes, we were wearing numbers, simply for identification purposes at checkpoints, but this wasn’t exactly a race. You had a maximum of 11 hours. Go ride. Go fast. Or not.
I wanted to test myself, not only because I’m always wanting to test myself, but because I’m gearing up for some longer races (including the Ronde 100, a re-creation of the original 324km Tour of Flanders, and Dirty Kanza 200, on consecutive weekends). As many miles as I can gobble up between now and then, the better off I’ll be.
And, of course, I love to climb.
To me, there’s no better character-shaping discipline than climbing. If you’re heavy or light, predisposed to floating or destined to sink, you can learn more about what you’re capable of — and what you’re incapable of, or how deep you can go, or how badly you want more, or what joy can be wrung from the difficult — through the slope of a KOM segment than any town sprint. At least for me. Maybe that’s because the rise over run of a climb is really about the mind over matter inside your skull. You versus physics. The fascinating power of the brain.
The irony, of course, is that the simple machine that is the ramp — the inclined plane — is meant to make the work of moving things easier. At least that’s what any textbook would tell you. The trade-off is that to save effort, you have to move things a greater distance. The longer the climb, the easier the grade. Tell that to any cyclist 25 miles into a climb up 14,265-foot Mount Evans. It ain’t easy. Nor were the shorter and steeper climbs we were tackling on this day.
Still, to rate one climb against another is to miss the point of getting to the top. There’s nothing that tests your ability to defy physics — for however long you can handle — than turning skyward. And getting to the top of whatever mountain you happen to be climbing is meaningful for myriad reasons. They’re as hard as you want them to be, or need them to be. And if you aren’t into it, you can always turn around and coast. Maybe it’s just like life.
When asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, it is often said that British mountaineer George Mallory famously quipped, “Because it’s there.” Unfortunately, he never said just that, but it makes for a good tale. If you go deeper, you’ll learn that Mallory was an artist and a philosopher as much as he was a mountaineer. If you read his longer explanations of why he climbed, you can glean much about why anyone would want to climb anything — for the first time in history, or the first time in your life, faster than you’ve ever gone before, by bike or by foot.
How to get the best of it all? One must conquer, achieve, get to the top; one must know the end to be convinced that one can win the end — to know there’s no dream that mustn’t be dared…Is this the summit, crowning the day? How cool and quiet! We’re not exultant; but delighted, joyful, soberly astonished. Have we vanquished an enemy? None but ourselves. Have we gained success? That word means nothing here. Have we won a kingdom? No…and yes. We have achieved an ultimate satisfaction…fulfilled a destiny. To struggle and to understand — never this last without the other; such is the law.
Back in Boulder, we all kept climbing away, some slower than others, all of us churning internally and externally, rhythmically singing with our legs as our heads told us the fat lady had started a tune. I rolled along for most of the ride quiet and alone, in the best of ways. I had found a place for placid, metronomic contemplation. But I was never lonely; I felt a continual presence of everything and everyone that has made me push. My legs filled with the combustible spirit of rotation, turn upon turn. Rhythmic, yes, the revolution of the cranks like steps on the circumambulation of a sacred summit. Methodical.
Seven hours and 47 minutes after the churning had begun, I rolled up to the last checkpoint, turned in my card which proved I had climbed to the top of each climb (there were questions on the card that could only be answered by getting to the top, e.g. “There is a sign opposite the mailboxes on the top of Flagstaff summit. What does it say?”); I had “won.” I had been chased all day by a cadre of strong riders, each in their own worlds of inclined planes and, I feel it’s safe to assume, thoughts of real food and inner struggles to turn circles with their spindly legs. They understood why they were there, and what they were doing to themselves.
In the words of Mallory, climbing makes perfect sense, to those who do it.
If you don’t understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of [a] mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life…
I’ve already contacted Mark about next year’s course. Together, I hope we can make it harder, and more joyful. Long live long climbs.
Editor’s note: Managing editor Chris Case has spent enough time racing parking lot crits to know there are far more enjoyable ways to spend time racing a bike. In his quest to find pain and pleasure in equal measure, he has sought out the most unique, challenging, and captivating competitions to test his mind, body, and equipment. Follow along with his experiment to race the best and most difficult courses, the iconic and the emerging, the most punishing and most promising, on and off road. Live vicariously through him, poke fun at him, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @leicacase. Questions or concerns for his well-being? Send him a note at email@example.com.
Margherita di Savoia, Italy (VN) — The top GC contenders of the Giro d’Italia are anticipating a difficult and decisive day in the saddle on Saturday, the race’s first individual time trial, a hilly 54.8km trek from Gabice Mara to Saltara.
It’s a stage bound to create time gaps in the general classification and produce a new race leader.
The Giro’s official race book — affectionately know as the “Garibaldi,” in homage to the Italian national hero — outlines the first 24km of the TT course as “climb, false flat and descent, continuous left and right bends with no straight sections worthy of note.”
“After about 12 straight and mostly flat kilometers the final climb begins. The final 3km after Calcinelli (time check) are very slightly uphill. The final 400m are steep (gradients of around 13% for the final tens of meters). The finish line is on a 200m straight.”
All eyes will look toward Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins, the Olympic TT champion and winner of both of the Tour’s time trials last July. Wiggins led Sky to a team time trial victory last weekend on the island of Ischia, and is heavily favored for the stage win.
Heading into Friday’s stage 7, Wiggins sat sixth overall, 34 seconds down on race leader Luca Paolini of Katusha. In the virtual GC of pre-race favorites, Wiggins sits three seconds behind Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), is tied with defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), and is eight seconds ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).
Given the compact nature of the GC, assuming there are not major GC changes on Friday’s hilly stage 7, it’s likely the winner of the TT will also take over the maglia rosa. Many are imagining that will be Wiggins, which would present a similar scenario to last year’s Tour, when Wiggins took the yellow jersey on stage 7, cemented his lead in the stage 9 time trial, and held it for two weeks, all the way to Paris. It must be said, however, that Wiggins’ form against the clock is a bit of an unknown; he hasn’t raced a proper TT since last summer’s London Olympics.
“Wiggins is the favorite for the time trial, for sure, he’s the best time trial rider here at the Giro,” Nibali said. “The idea is to lose as little as possible Saturday because we have to keep in contact for the mountains. The Giro is long, he can have his great days, but there may be days where he’s not so hot, and that’s where I’ll take advantage of him.”
Nibali continued: “I’m more of a climber than a time trial rider. I’m always trying to get better and better in the mountains, because with my weight, I have a chance there. I’m able to defend myself well. I’ve had good rides. I’m even able to win in one-day tests. I’ve trained for those mountains, but also for the time trials, trying not to miss out on any critical point. It’s normal, though, when you’re lightweight that it’s hard to go strong in the time trials. On the flats, Wiggins is heavier and he’s able to push bigger gears.”
The Sky leader told VeloNews that he previewed the time trial course a few weeks before the start of the Giro, and described it as “seriously tough.”
“I’ve ridden it once, a few weeks ago, and we drove over it on Saturday as well, of course,” Wiggins said. “It’s tough — seriously tough. I rode it on a time trial bike and it took me an hour and 50 minutes. It’s up and down, and long. I’d guess times like 1:15 or 1:20 for the winner. It’s a real solid course.”
Asked if there could be major time differences between the top riders, Wiggins said it was likely. “It’s one of those courses where you have to be good from the start to the finish. The last kilometer finishes at 16 percent.”
Like Wiggins, Hesjedal has made a trip to Gabice Mara, specifically to recon the TT route.
“It will be a tough test. It’s a very demanding TT after a long first week,” Hesjedal said. “The GC will become more clear after. For me, I am focused on the best ride I can do and will asses after that. There is still a lot of racing in this Giro beyond that point. It took me 1:45 to pre-ride going pretty good. It’s going to hurt.”
Evans, on the other hand, has not previewed Saturday’s course.
“From what I understand, it is a really hard time trial” Evans said. “Not only is it long, but there is really not much flat involved. It’s going to be pretty tough. It’s going to be long, at 55km, but also long in time because it’s not on particularly fast roads, and with the gradient, it’s not going to be a real fast time trial. I had a bit of a look at the maps and so on. [It's] undulating and winding and then one or two quite steep climbs.”
Evans added that he didn’t necessarily view Wiggins as the favorite, due to the course’s profile.
“If you look at his time trials in the stage races he did last year, you would consider [Wiggins the favorite],” Evans said. “But it’s not a perfect time trial [route] for him. He is probably more suited to a flatter, faster time trial. But if he comes around with the form he had at Tour of Romandie last year, on a hilly time trial, of course he could make some big time gains. It’s a bit hard to judge.”
And even if Wiggins does take the race lead on Saturday, there’s no guarantee he will hold it for two weeks, all the way to Breschia, as he did at the Tour last year.
This Giro offers several significant climbs, including the 149km 15th stage from Cesana Torinese to Col du Galibier that has two monster ascents — Mont Cenis and the Télégraphe —packed into the stage before hitting the giant of the Alps at Galibier. The 203km 20th stage from Silandro to the Tre Cime in the Dolomites features five major climbs, with the Tre Cime summit hitting 12 percent over the final three kilometers. This stage is so hard and so demanding that nothing will be secured until the pink jersey is across the line.
How much Saturday’s TT plays into the GC standings at that point won’t be known for another two weeks. But right now, it will factor in as the most important stage of the first week.