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Last sparks before L’Aquila


The first edition of the new Giro d’Abruzzo will have to be fought to the very end. After the hard efforts of Prati di Tivo, the riders will be faced with 173 wavy km, difficult to interpret and full of pitfalls. Stage departure will take place in the town of Montorio al Vomano, an area surrounded by small valleys, fields, woods, flowers and rivers that rise all the way up to the peaks of the Gran Sasso d’Italia.

This stage consists of a succession of ascents and descents as the race moves from one valley to another, with as many as 12 climbs to be tackled and practically no flat ground to play with. The first part is entirely uphill, touching the villages of Penna Sant’Andrea, Cesi and Penne all the way to Brittoli and Forca di Penne. The athletes will then climb the most demanding hill of the day, Castel del Monte, at the foot of the Gran Sasso. Both asperities will also feature in the route of the next Giro d’Italia Women.

The finale in L’Aquila is highly unpredictable: after leaving the ss.17 road at -6 to go, the peloton will tackle the climb of Via della Polveriera with gradients of around 5-6% and peaks of 9%. The following descent ends with a sharp turn to the right at 2 km from the finish line. At 1500 m to go, the road rises again. The last km has a gradient of around 7% with a peak of 11% just a few hundred metres before the final straight. Whoever has enough energy left can try to overturn the Giro d’Abruzzo will find the right route to do so.

The finale in L’Aquila will bring back plenty of fond memories of the Giro d’Italia. The city’s debut in the world of great cycling dates back to 1914. Then came Gino Bartali’s double victory 1935 and 1936, not to mention Carlo Clerici’s breakaway in 1954, when the Italian managed to resist the return of his rivals and take home the Maglia Rosa against all odds. A scenario very similar to that of 2010, when a 40-man breakaway gained a gap of almost 13 minutes, forcing race favourite and eventual winner Ivan Basso to some unexpected extra work in the next few days to close the gap in the GC.

Many interesting chapters in the history of great cycling have been written in this town, and with the Grand Finale of the Giro d’Abruzzo 2024, a brand new one is about to be added.

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