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The final rest day now in the rear view mirror and week three of the Giro d’Italia looms large with four leg-searing stages across the final six days of racing for the maglia rosa. Stage 16 wastes no time to deliver drama, with five categorised climbs that total 5,200 metres of elevation gain over 203km.
A tranquil setting in Sabbio Chiese along the western side of Lake Garda sets the plot with 64km of flat roads and a cavalcade of tunnels. Just past Riva del Garda on the northern edge of the lake, the serious intrigue begins. The first of the quintet of climbs is the first-category Passo di Santa Barbara (12km at 8%) and the third-category Passo di Bordala (4.5km at 7%), with just less than 8km between the KOMs. Then rolling through the Adige Valley, with an intermediate sprint in Rovereto, there are consecutive category 2 ascents of the Matassone (13 km at 5%) and Serrada (17km at 5.5%).
Once descending 28.4km into Aldeno, with the final sprint points on offer, the final climb to Monte Bondone covers the final 21.4km, with an average gradient 6.8% and topping out at 15%. It was at this location in 1956 that Charly Gaul plowed through a blizzard and gained the maglia rosa on the now-famous summit. Ivan Bassoo was the last winner atop Monte Bondone, doing so in 2006.
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