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Date: Tuesday May 24
Distance: 202 km
The riders are welcomed back from their final rest day with a monster of a stage. This five-star stage comprises four challenging climbs: 19.9 km at 6.2%, the Mortirolo (12.6 km at 7.6%), 5.6 km at 8.2%, and finally the Valico di Santa Cristina (13.5 km at 8%). From the top of that final climb, it’s 6.2 km to the finish, mostly downhill. And that downhill? It’s “highly technical on narrow roads and with sharp gradients”. The descent ends about 1.4 km from the line, after which it’s gradually up. With 5,250 metres of climbing, this stage is no joke.
Adding to the difficult terrain, stage 16 might see the first significant rainfalls of this Giro, with some forecasts even warning of an orange risk of thunderstorms throughout the afternoon.
Who’s it for: The GC men. The final week begins with one of the toughest stages of the entire race and a GC battle seems the likely outcome. Straight out of the rest day and into the first of several stages in the final week that could decide the Giro, riders will be hoping for no ill effects from the rest day. With only 30km of flat on the entire stage, this one will have both the GC riders and the gruppetto nervous for entirely different reasons.
CyclingTips’ picks: After the team’s dominant showing on stage 14, Bora-Hansgrohe might see stage 16 as an opportunity to neutralise the Ineos Grenadiers train and potentially isolate race leader Richard Carapaz. Jai Hindley will hope to take full advantage, although Richard Carapaz isn’t afraid to go it alone, as he proved on Saturday.
Vincenzo Nibali has worked his way back into GC reckoning after a tough opening week. Stage 16’s shark tooth profile would have Nibali’s name all over it just a season or two ago. After Nibali’s performance on stage 14, most of Italy will be hoping the Shark of Messina can bite once again. The final descent to the finish will surely have Nibali eyeing up a stage victory in his final Giro. Should the shark falter, Pozzovivo could be on hand to give the home crowd something to celebrate and double Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux’s stage win count.
The Bahrain-Victorious pairing of Mikel Landa and Pello Bilbao make a formidable duo for the final week. If both can stay in contention, Bilbao’s descending skills might just give him the edge on Stage 16. João Almeida has struggled on the descents so far this Giro, and Bahrain-Victorious could eye stage 16’s descents as an opportunity to move Landa onto the third podium spot currently occupied by the Team UAE-Emirates rider.
A rejuvenated and seemingly injury-free Simon Yates has a stage win in each week of this Giro and could easily add another in the final week. At 18 minutes in arrears on GC, Yates should enjoy the freedom to clip away for another stage victory and scoop up the ten-second time bonus on the line, something that might suit any rider in pink in a tight GC battle.
When to start watching: The stage starts at 11 am local time. The day’s penultimate climb is expected to start around 3:40 pm local time (6:40 am PDT / 9:40 am EDT / 11:40 pm AEST). The final climb should start roughly half an hour later. If it’s the steep slopes of the mythical Passo Del Mortirolo you want to see, plan to tune in much earlier. Expect the race to hit the lower slopes sometime around 2:20 pm local time (5:20 am PDT / 8:20 am EDT / 10:20 pm AEST).