Giro d’Italia announces stage finish on the Galibier in tribute to Pantani
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Giro d’Italia announces stage finish on the Galibier in tribute to Pantani

by Ben Atkins at 9:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Short, sharp Alpine stage into France to mark 15 years since il Pirata’s most devastating attack

marco pantaniWith the full 2013 route to be announced on September 30th, Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport has released news of the 15th stage, which will see the race cross the border into France for the first time in six years. The short, shart, 150km course will start in the Piemonte border town of Cesana Torinese and finish at the top of the Col du Galibier in tribute to late Italian climber Marco Pantani.

The stage will cross the border into France on the way to the top of the Col du Moncenis, before taking the northern route to the Galibier, via the Col du Télégraphe. This will be the second time that a Grand Tour has used the mythical 2642 metre mountain pass for a stage finish, after the 18th stage of the 2011 Tour de France. Coincidentally, that Tour stage - which was won by Leopard Trek’s Andy Schleck - also started in Italy, in the town of Pinerolo, but the route took the southern side of the Col, via the Col du Lautaret.

Pantani was the Giro d’Italia champion when he arrived at what was to be a tumultuous Tour de France in 1998 but, having lost time in the flat stages and time trials of the first week, was not expected to do more than win stages in the French race. In the rain and cold of that day in the Alps though, he attacked the group containing yellow jersey Jan Ullrich with four kilometres of the Galibier still to climb; by the time he reached the finish in Les Deux Alpes he had taken almost nine minutes from the German and was firmly in yellow himself.

A monument now marks the spot where Pantani attacked.

The north side of the Galibier is officially 18.1km in length, with an average gradient of 6.8% but, with the inclusion of the Télégraphe - with only a short, shallow descent afterwards - there are almost 35km of climbing once the road has left the town of St Michel de Maurienne. At only 150km in length however, RCS Sport is doubtless hoping for an exciting day of attacks, rather than the long, hard slog that a longer route would bring.

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