Eight years have already gone by since Sega di Ala welcomed the best riders in World cycling for the first time. April 19th, 2013, was when the Tour of the Alps‘ current organizers, GS Alto Garda, decided to bring the then Giro del Trentino on this climb. On May 26th, 2021, Sega di Ala will make its first appearance at the Giro d’Italia, as the uphill finish of the 17th stage, starting from Canazei.
2013 Giro del Trentino’s fourth and last stage has started from Arco and finished atop Sega di Ala, 1220 m above sea level, in the area of the Lessini Mountains, close to the Riondera Hut. In the 2013 season, Sega di Ala was still undiscovered by the pro peloton, but feared and awaited since its announcement: 11.5 km at a 9.2% average gradient, a mountain for thoroughbred climbers.
“We are always proud to see a mountain discovered by our race – the Giro del Trentino and now the Tour of the Alps – feature in the Giro. I think that Sega di Ala will provide one of the greatest shows of this year’s Giro d’Italia”, – said GS Alto Garda President Giacomo Santini. – “I will always remember the countless checks and inspections with former Mayor of Ala Luigino Pieroni to bring the Giro del Trentino to the peak of this climb. And the race day: I remember a wonderful day of sport, one of the most beautiful stages in Giro del Trentino’s 40 years history. We have shown that it is possible to find hard and spectacular climbs, even without rising to huge altitudes.”
Vincenzo Nibali won Sega di Ala’ stage soloing on the finish line, clinching the Giro del Trentino overall win, and went on to triumph at the Giro d’Italia in the same year with an impressive performance. Fabio Aru was fourth at his first appearance at the frontline of the peloton, whilst Nibali’s main rival at the 2013 Giro del Trentino, then-reigning Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins, had to bow himself to Nibali and bad luck.
Indeed, Wiggins got into mechanical problems twice during Sega di Ala’s ascension, and his disappointment exploded when he threw his bike against the road wall, a moment that all fans clearly remember. On that day, Nibali won the Giro del Trentino’s GC, and Sega di Ala got a name for that memorable stage and the Wiggins’ episode.
Next May, the Giro d’Italia favorites will have to face Sega di Ala, and many of them will be on the starting line at the Tour of the Alps (April 19-23) as well: from Egan Bernal to Thibaut Pinot, from Simon Yates to Vincenzo Nibali, one of the few riders in the peloton who has faced Sega di Ala, and the only one who knows how to tame it.