Giro d’Italia organizer RCS Sport announced that for the first time in Giro history, one of the 2013 Giro d’Italia stages will be finished on top of the epic Col du Galibier in tribute to Marco Pantani. On Sunday 19th May 2013, Stage 15 of Giro d’Italia 2013 edition will finish at the top of the legendary Col du Galibier, one of the sacred mountains of cycling.

Andy Schleck climbing Col du Galibier at Stage 18 of Tour de France 2011
Andy Schleck climbing Col du Galibier at Stage 18 of Tour de France 2011. He won the highest ever Tour de France finish.

The stage will be finished at the top of the climb, where the mountain divides the French departments of Savoy from the Hautes-Alpes. It’ll be the first time in the history of cycling that a race, climbing from Valloire, will finish at the top of this monumental mountain.

Stage 15 will include three big climbs: it will start from Cesana Torinese, and take riders towards Susa where the Colle del Moncenisio (Col du Moncenis) climb will begin, then downhill towards the Val D’Arc. At Saint Michel de Maurienne the race will climb the Col du Télégraphe and then, from Valloire, the last 18km will head upwards towards the glory of the summit of the Col du Galibier.

Col du Galibier stage profile (Giro d’Italia 2013)

Col du Galibier (el. 2,645 meters or 8,678 feet) is a mountain pass in the southern region of the French Dauphiné Alps near Grenoble. It is the eighth-highest paved road in the Alps, and recurrently the highest point of the Tour de France. It connects Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne and Briançon via the col du Télégraphe and the Col du Lautaret. The pass is closed during the winter.

Before 1976, the tunnel was the only point of passage at the top, at an altitude of 2556 m. The tunnel was closed for restoration until 2002, and a new road was constructed over the summit. The re-opened tunnel is a single lane controlled by traffic lights, which are among the highest such installations in Europe.

Col du Galibier stage profile (Giro d'Italia 2013)
Giro d’Italia 2013 Stage 15 route (May 19)

The climb was first used in the Tour de France in 1911; the first rider over the summit was Emile Georget. He and Paul Duboc and Gustave Garrigou were the only riders not to walk.

From the north, starting at Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne (including the Col du Télégraphe), the climb is 34.8 kilometers (21.6 mi) long, gaining 2,120 meters (6,960 ft) in height (an average of 6.1%). The actual climb to the summit starts at Valloire and is 18.1 kilometers (11.2 mi) long at an average of 6.9% (height gain: 1,245 meters or 4,085 ft). The maximum gradient is 10.1% at the summit.

From the south, the climb starts from the Col du Lautaret (el. 2,058 meters (6,752 ft)) and is 8.5 kilometers (5.3 mi) long at an average gradient of 6.9% (height gain: 585 meters (1,919 ft)) with a maximum of 12.1% at the summit.

On both sides of the climb, there are cycling milestones are placed every kilometer. They indicate the distance to the summit, the current altitude, and the average slope in the following kilometer.

The original summit was at 2556 meters, while the tunnel was closed from 1976 until 2002, the tour route went only over the pass closer to the mountain peak at 2645 meters. In 2011, the Tour de France went through the tunnel for the first time during the 19th stage from Modane Valfréjus to L’Alpe d’Huez. And in the 15th Stage of Giro d’Italia 2013, this will happen again and the riders will climb up to 2,645m.

The 2011 Tour climbed the Col du Galibier twice to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of the pass in the Tour de France, including the first-ever summit finish, won by Andy Schleck after a 60 km solo breakaway. This was the highest ever stage finish in the Tour de France.

On July 27, 1998, Stage 15 of Tour de France, Marco Pantani attacked and dropped Ullrich group on Col du Galibier climb, won the stage and captured the yellow jersey. He also won the 1998 Tour de France.

Here is the long video of Pantani’s attack and the stage win.

Marco Pantani attacks on Col du Galibier, Tour de France 1998

Sources

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