LAS VEGAS (VN) — Giro d’Italia organizers on Wednesday unveiled what they called the “King stage” of the 2013 route. For the first time in the race’s history, the stage will finish atop the Col du Galibier to honor the late Marco Pantani.
“In 1998, Marco Pantani was winning the Tour de France, making something very special on that mountain,” said race director Michele Acquarone.
Pantani took control of the 1998 Tour de France on stage 15 with a ferocious attack on the Galibier. By the time the race reached the finish at Les Deux Alpes, the Italian held an overall lead of more than three minutes to American Bobby Julich. Pantani would go on to secure Italy’s first Tour victory since Felice Gimondi in 1965. No Italian has won the Tour since.
Stage 15 of the 2013 Giro will start in Cesana Torinese in Piedmont. The route will take in the Col du Mont Cenis and the Col du Télégraphe before finishing atop the Galibier.
When asked about the escalating arms race with the Vuelta a España to boast the most extreme route in grand tour cycling, Acquarone said that his race would see more balance than the Spanish tour, which saw 10 uphill finishes in 2012.
“We used to say it was the toughest race in the world because of the mountains, but we’ve added balance and we attract many of the great champions,” he said. “I think the Vuelta was special and a lot of fun for everybody, but the Giro is different. It’s a different part of the season and we need to have more balance.
“It’s like 21 different classics all together in one race.”
Organizers will present the full 2013 Giro route on September 30.