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Saturday is the culmination in a trio of mountaintop finishes, and this one packs most of its 1,050 metres of climbing into the final 9.8km of an imposing 18.6km individual time trial.
Stage 20 begins in Tarvisio with 11km of slightly uphill terrain. A short kick of 15% in gradient signals the beginning of a 6km stretch along the Alpe Adria Cycle Route, which uses old railway lines to cross casually across the entire Valcanale Valley and pass to Austria. However, the ride for pros on this Giro is anything but casual.
Once across a bridge to pass over glacial runoff waters, it signals the final steep section, which is also the first intermediate time check. There are two more time checks, one at kilometre 14.3 and one at kilometre 17.8.
The final climb snakes through the woods on narrow concrete-surfaced roads with many switchbacks. The first 5km reach approximately 15% on average, peaking above 20%. Once out of the forest, the gradient falls to 4% for a short stretch, but ramps back up. In the final kilometre the gradient jumps to 22% for a section, then back to 8% going into a double bend where the last 150 metres lurch upward at 16%. This race against the clock pits man versus mountain to see who will wear pink for the finale on Sunday.
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