Giro stages and Team Sky on caffeine

The 99th Giro d'Italia starts proper tomorrow following today's individual time trial around Apeldoorn in the Netherlands.

Because we've got nothing better to show you right now, here's a video from SIS on the effects of caffeine on the body, which actually enlightened us a bit. 

To give you even more value we're also pasting the descriptions of all 21 stages as presented to us from the Giro press office, unsubbed and unedited. We might stick this in another post at a later date.

GIRO D’ITALIA 2016

Stage 1 – APELDOORN – APELDOORN ITT

The route

This Individual Time Trial runs entirely through the city, along wide, straight avenues, with just a few 90-degree bends. Speed bumps, roundabouts and street furniture will be found throughout the route. Split time is taken at km 4.8.

Final kms

The final kilometres are completely flat, with two right-hand bends in between three straight stretches. The final bend leads into the 600m long home straight, on a 6.5m wide asphalt road.

Stage 2 – ARNHEM - NIJMEGEN

The route

This is the first mass-start stage. The route runs basically flat along the plains surrounding the start and finish cities, coming across minor climbs and mild descents, villages, roundabouts and speed bumps. The road narrows at km 90, where the route covers a short stretch of the cycle path. While approaching the finish, the route takes in the first categorised climb of the Giro, 1.1km long, and with gradients topping 11%. The stage finale leads to an 8.6km city circuit within Nijmegen, to be covered twice. Wind is likely to be the major challenge along the route.

Final kms

The final 8.6km circuit, to be ridden twice, runs along wide, straight urban avenues, dotted with roundabouts. The route passes over the Waal River twice on bridges that have slight up- and downhill gradients. The home straight is 350 m long, on 8-m wide asphalt road. The final kilometres are slightly curved, but with no real bends.

Stage 3 – NIJMEGEN - ARNHEM

The route

This stage closely resembles the previous one: the route runs flat along the plains surrounding the start and finish cities, coming across minor climbs and mild descents, villages, roundabouts and speed bumps. Over the first 25km, the route winds its way on narrow roads twisting and turning along the banks of River Rhine. The route tackles the Posbank categorised climb, then a short and technical descent along the roads of the Hoge Weluve National Park leads into the final Arnhem circuit (14km), to be covered twice. In this stage again, wind is likely to be the major challenge.

Final kms

The final 14km circuit, to be covered twice, runs along wide, straight urban avenues, dotted with roundabouts. The route passes over the Nederrijn River twice, and then takes a short tunnel with approx 6km remaining to the finish. The home straight is 500m long, on a 7.5m wide asphalt road. The final kilometres are slightly curved, but with no real bends.

Stage 4 – CATANZARO – PRAIA A MARE

The route

The stage is wavy, but the first 120km are relatively straightforward. The route winds its way along wide fast-flow roads, which feature a few tunnels. Past Cetraro Marina, the route takes in the Bonifati climb and dives into the ss. 18 trunk road, then leaves it to tackle the second categorised climb of the day in San Pietro (with high gradients along the first half). The route grows harder after the intermediate sprint in Scalea, with many climbs and descents, and twists and turns that lead into the final 10km.

Final kms

The final kilometres are rather bumpy. With 10km remaining to the finish, the route takes in the very steep Via del Fortino climb (with ramps topping out at 18%), and then drops into Praia on wide and curving roads that pose no real challenge. Beware of two tunnels in the first part of the descent (the least steep). The home straight is 2,500m long, on a 7.5m wide asphalt road, curving just slightly, 40m before the finish.

Stage 5 – PRAIA A MARE - BENEVENTO

The route

This very long stage (233km) winds its way mostly on fast-flow roads. The first part runs entirely uphill (with milder or harsher gradients), with constant undulations further on, up to 30km remaining to the finish. The final part leading into Benevento runs slightly downhill, until it reaches the city for the last section.

Final kms

The final kilometres run entirely within the city. The first part rolls on wide and straight avenues, climbing at first, and then descending. The second part runs on more narrow and curvy inner streets, with a sharp turn 1,200m before the finish. The home stretch is 200m long and slightly uphill, on a 7m wide porphyry-paved road.

Stage 6 – PONTE – ROCCARASO (Aremogna)

The route

The first summit finish comes after a short yet full mountain stage. After the first 20km on flat roads, the route starts to climb along easy to mild gradients for almost 40km, including a deceptive false-flat drag before the ascent. The route then descends along roads that are wide, yet worn out at points. From km 75 to km 135, the stage course runs along wide, fast and mostly straight roads, with a number of tunnels in the final stretch. After the Castel di Sangro intermediate sprint, the route takes in the final climb leading to the finish.

Final kms

The final climb is 17km long, with an average 4.8% gradient. The first part is quite steep, with a short 12% stretch, followed by a deceptively false-flat drag (across the centre of Roccaraso). Seven kilometres before the finish, the route starts to climb again with variable slopes ranging from 4% to 7%. The final kilometre has a 7% gradient. The home stretch, running entirely uphill, is 120m long, on a 6m wide asphalt road.

Stage 7 – SULMONA - FOLIGNO

The route

The stage is wavy, with a first climb starting just 11km after the start (Le Svolte di Popoli), followed by nearly 200km on wide and mostly straight roads, with roundabouts, speed bumps and traffic islands being the main obstacles typically found in urban areas (such as L’Aquila, Rieti, Terni, Spoleto). The final part of the route descends (or runs flat) all the way up to the final kilometres.

Final kms

The final kilometres are quite uncomplicated, up to 2,000m from the finish. Here, one right-hand bend quickly followed by two left-hand bends lead into the home stretch with 1,300m left to go. There is just one last, gentle bend 500m before the finish line, which lies on a 160m long and 7m wide asphalt straight.

Stage 8 – FOLIGNO - AREZZO

The route

This stage combines flat and mountain roads. The route runs up the Tiber River valley, after rolling past Assisi and Perugia, all the way up to Città di Castello. The roads are quite wide, but with worn out surfaces in places, and narrowing when cutting through urban areas. Just past Città di Castello, the route leaves the Tiber River valley to tackle the steep Anghiari ascent first, followed by the Scheggia categorised climb. The stage course rolls along wavy roads, with a few narrower sectors while crossing urban areas, all the way up to Indicatore (intermediate sprint) and Arezzo. Next on the route, after a first pass over the finish line, is the Alpe di Poti climb, featuring 6.4km on dirt roads, and double-digit gradients. After clearing the KOM summit, the road drops quickly into Foce dello Scopetone and straight into the finish.

Final kms

The final kilometres run entirely within the city. A fast descent down from Scopetone, with wide bends, leads to the stadium. The route then cuts across the city centre, where traffic dividers and roundabouts will be the main obstacles. After the “flamme rouge”, the route takes two right-hand bends on wide roundabouts, and passes under a mediaeval gateway. A short, steep climb (first on asphalt road, and then on stone-slab paving) leads to the home straight (200m), still slightly uphill (approx 5%), on 6m wide stone-slab paving.

Stage 9 – CHIANTI CLASSICO ITT

The route

This Individual Time Trial is very wavy and winding: undulating and slightly uphill all the way to Castellina in Chianti (split time 1), undulating and mainly downhill up to Madonna di Pietracupa (split time 2). Here, the roadway narrows for about 4km. Next on the route are two climbs; the second one is steeper and leads to Panzano in Chianti (split time 3). Here begins the final descent leading into the finish.

Final kms

The final kilometres run downhill all the way up to 2km from the finish line, along wide and mainly straight roads, just bending slightly at points. 300m from the finish there is a final bend, nearly a U-shaped curved, leading into the old town centre and to the finish. The home straight is 180m long, on a 6m wide, flat asphalt road.

Stage 10 – CAMPI BISENZIO - SESTOLA

The route

After the first 25km, this mountain stage doesn’t feature one single flat metre. Just past Pistoia, the route climbs up Passo della Collina (on wide and ever-bending roads) and across the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. After dropping quickly into Porretta Terme, the route climbs up again to tackle the Pietracolora categorised climb, leading into Valle del Samone. A short flat sector follows, leading to Marano sul Panaro. Here the route starts to climb and descend constantly over 70km (with milder or harsher gradients), all the way up to the Pian del Falco KOM. The final part of the climb features long stretches with double-digit gradients (topping out at 14%). The last 15km run half downhill and half uphill.

Final kms

The final kilometres comprise a fast and technical descent that leads from the KOM summit to Fanano. The descent can be divided into two quite steep parts: the first one runs on large roads, with just a few bends, and leads into a second section where the road is narrower at points, and which twists and turns all the way up into urban Fanano. Next on the route is the final 7km climb, with gradients of 5-6%, on a wide yet winding road that leads into the final 100m long, uphill home straight, on a 6.5m wide asphalt road.

Stage 11 – MODENA - ASOLO

The route

The stage is clearly divided into two parts: the first one runs flat from Modena to just before Asolo (approx 200km), while the second one is wavier and more challenging, leading into the finish. The route runs across the entire Po Plain, partly on narrow roads, and partly on wide and mainly straight roads – but riders must beware of roundabouts, kerbs, speed bumps and traffic dividers through urban areas. Just past Maser, the road tackles a short yet very harsh climb up Forcella Mostaccin (with gradients topping out at 16%), followed by a technical descent (narrowing in places) leading to the Monfumo hills and to Castelcucco. Here, a series of undulations will lead to the final Asolo climb.

Final kms

Five kilometres before the finish, the road climbs up towards Asolo along a 1km ramp with gradients of approx 7% that leads into the old town centre through a mediaeval gateway and on a setts-paved stretch. A quick descent on wide roads follows, up to the final kilometre. The last bend is 900m from the finish line, followed by a long home straight, just bending slightly, on a perfectly level, 7.5-m wide asphalt road.

Stage 12 – NOALE - BIBIONE

The route

The stage course is perfectly flat and runs almost entirely along wide and straight roads. Initially, the route follows the Riviera del Brenta, then it enters the province of Treviso along trunk roads. There are roundabouts, kerbs, speed bumps and traffic dividers in urban areas, especially in Mestre, Treviso and Portogruaro. The route finally reaches Bibione, where an 8km circuit is to be covered twice.

Final kms

The final 8km circuit, to be ridden twice, features 14 bends and long straight stretches, on mostly wide and well-surfaced roads. The home straight is 300m long, on a 7.5-m wide asphalt road.

Stage 13 – PALMANOVA – CIVIDALE DEL FRIULI

The route

This is a very challenging mountain stage. The route takes in four categorised climbs in a row, with just a few stretches to let the bunch catch their breath. The first 45km run on apparently flat ground, and are followed by three typical pre-Alpine climbs, marked by narrow roadway, high gradients and endless turns, both while climbing and while descending. After a flat drag including a passage over the finish line, the route heads towards the two final climbs in Porzùs and Valle, with a very winding and undulating profile, and high uphill gradients. The road narrows at point while crossing urban areas. The route features some technical descents, especially when climbing down form Passo San Martino at km 67.

Final kms

The last 5km are deceptive: seemingly flat and yet actually running downhill all the way to Cividale del Friuli. The route features a few twists and turns over the last kilometre; the home straight (approx 400m long) is on a 7m wide asphalt road.

Stage 14 – FARRA (Alpago) – CORVARA (Alta Badia)

The route

Over the last 150km of this Queen Stage across the Dolomites, there are six passes to be climbed, for a total rise and drop of 4,700m (out of 5,400m). The route runs across the Val Cordevole along well-surfaced roads, all the way to Arabba. Here, the route clears Passo Pordoi, followed by Passo Sella and Passo Gardena (with not even a single flat metre in between), and heads for the first pass over the finish line in Corvara (intermediate sprint). The road then climbs up Passo Campolongo, Passo Giau (the harshest climb of the stage, with an average 9% gradient, and peaks of more than 10-12% over the first kilometres) and Passo Valparola, which leads to the final 5km. All climbs and descents feature many hairpins and a few narrow urban crossings.

Final kms

The last 5km run mostly uphill. The route clears Muro del Gatto (360m, with gradients ranging from 13 to 19%), and then drops down into the trunk road leading to Corvara, still climbing slightly (average slope: 2-3%). The last bend is 150m from the finish line and the home stretch, on a 6m wide asphalt road, has a mild uphill gradient.

Stage 15 – CASTELROTTO – ALPE DI SIUSI ITT

The route

The stage is an uphill Individual Time Trial. After a first false-flat drag (1,800m), the route climbs steadily over the next 9km, with an average 8.3% gradient. The road is wide and well paved. Straight stretches alternate with hairpins that feature a high bend radius. Split time is taken at km 4.4.

Final kms

The final kilometres run entirely uphill, with constant slopes (an average gradient of 8%, and a maximum gradient of 11%), and on wide, well-paved roads. The route takes in a series of hairpins in the stage finale. The finish line lies at the end of a 180m long, 6m wide asphalt home straight.

Stage 16 – BRESSANONE - ANDALO

The route

The stage is short, yet features long climbs and descents. Over the first 40km, the route runs initially downhill (although the road is deceptively flat) until past Bolzano (intermediate sprint). Here, after clearing the Mendel Pass climb, the road takes a long, undulating descent leading to the foot of the final ascent. The climb is in two parts, the first leading to Fai della Paganella (categorised climb), and the second running all the way up to the finish. 200m before the summit, in the urban area of Fai della Paganella, the climb gradient peaks as high as 15%.

Final kms

The final 10km are clearly divided into two halves: first a fast-running descent (4km) on wide roads with sharp downhill gradients, then a mild climb (6km), growing steeper, up to 2km from the finish. Next comes a false-flat uphill drag. The finish line lies on an 80m long and 7m wide asphalt home stretch, running gently uphill.

Stage 17 – MOLVENO – CASSANO D’ADDA

The route

The first half of the stage is wavy, while the second half is perfectly flat. The route rolls along moderate undulations all the way up to km 120 (Brescia), where the road eventually levels out. There are a few tunnels in the first part. In the flat sector, the roads are relatively wide and straight, with just a few more curvy stretches. Roundabouts, speed bumps and traffic dividers are the main obstacles typically found in urban areas.

Final kms

The final 5km are perfectly flat, with two mild bends and one (last) turn 600m before the finish, on 7m wide asphalt road. Roundabouts, speed bumps and traffic islands are the main obstacles, throughout the stage course.

Stage 18 – MUGGIÒ - PINEROLO

The route

After running flat for 170km, this stage will have a more challenging finale. The route initially runs across the entire north-western Po Plain, from Milano to Torino, along mainly straight and wide roads. The stage course cuts across a few major cities, where the usual traffic-calming street furniture are to be found. After reaching Pinerolo (and clearing Colletta di Cumiana), the route takes a first pass over the finish line, climbs up the steep Via dei Principi d’Acaja stretch, tackles the Pramartino climb (4.6km with an average 10.4% gradient) and goes back to Pinerolo, to cover the last 3km, after a very technical descent.

Final kms

2,500m before the finish, the route turns left and climbs up Via Principi d’Acaja (450m with an average 14% gradient and peaks of 20%, on setts-paved and narrow road). Next is a steep and harsh descent leading into Pinerolo. The last 1,500m run on level roads, with just a few bends and a short stretch on stone-slab paving. The finish line is set at the end of an 8m wide, 350m long asphalt home straight.

Stage 19 – PINEROLO - RISOUL

The route

This is a high mountain stage featuring a summit finish, and “home” to the Cima Coppi. The route runs constantly uphill (on deceptively flat roads) over 80km, all the way up to Casteldelfino. Here the road starts to climb up Colle dell’Agnello (Cima Coppi, 2744m). The following 40km run mostly downhill and lead to Guillestre, at the foot of the final climb. There are a few tunnels around km 135.

Final kms

The last 13km run entirely uphill, with an average 7% gradient and 15 hairpins. The roadway is very wide and well surfaced. The home straight, 150m in length, on a 6m wide asphalt road, has an 8% uphill gradient.

Stage 20 – GUILLESTRE – SANT’ANNA DI VINADIO

The route

This short stage across the Alps features a remarkable 4,100m rise and drop in as little as 134km, with a sequence of four climbs and three descents – with no flat stretches in between. The route climbs up Col de Vars (19km), Col de la Bonette (22km), Col de la Lombarde (20km) and the final 2.3km leading to the Sant’Anna Sanctuary. The road is wide and well-surfaced along all of the climbs (mostly above 2,000m), with many hairpins. The roadway only narrows along the technical descent from Col de la Lombarde, all the way up to the last 2.3km.

Final kms

The route climbs steadily over the last 2,300m, with gradients ranging from 9% to 11%. The road is quite narrow, with a few hairpins. The last few hundred metres of the route run among the Sanctuary’s buildings, with short uphill stretches and tight bends. The home straight (50m) is on a 6m wide asphalt road.

Stage 21 – CUNEO - TORINO

The route

The route starts in Cuneo, runs through Borgo San Dalmazzo and then heads towards Torino, leaving Cuneo to the south-east. The stage course runs along wide and straight trunk roads across the plain, all the way up to Torino, where a final circuit is to be covered eight times.

Final kms

The final 7.5km circuit runs almost entirely along the right bank of the Po River. After passing over the finish line, the route runs around the Chiesa della Gran Madre and then tackles the only short climb of the stage (to be ridden eight  times), leading to Villa della Regina (750m, with gradients ranging from 4 to 6%, with a short 8% stretch at the summit). Next, a fast-running descent leads into Corso Moncalieri, and then to the other bank of River Po. Here, the route passes under Ponte Balbis, enters Parco del Valentino and runs across the park up to the red flag. In the last 1km, two bends before and after Ponte Umberto I lead into the 600m long home stretch, on an 8m wide asphalt road.