There is still more than a month left before the Giro d’Italia reaches Trentino, but the top contenders for the Pink jersey already have their mind fixed on one of the crucial stages of the upcoming edition, the one that will take the riders from Canazei to Sega di Ala through 193 km on Wednesday, May 26th.
The day after winning the final green jersey of the Tour of the Alps, Simon Yates of Team BikeExchange did not miss the opportunity to go on recognition on the course, and notably on the final two climbs in the Vallagarina area, the Passo San Valentino and the uphill finish of Sega di Ala. The latter had made its debut in cycling back in 2013, when it was discovered by the then Giro del Trentino, and proposed in a spectacular final stage won by Vincenzo Nibali.
On Saturday April 24th, Simon Yates and three of his teammates first tackled the famous Avio-San Valentino, a 16 km climb with an average gradient of 8% that leads to San Valentino di Brentonico, in the Baldo Park. Subsequently, from the locality of Sdruzzinà di Ala, the champion then tested the Sega di Ala climbs, one of the 23 “Great climbs of Trentino”. Eleven kilometers and 430 meters long, with 1,100 meters of elevation gain, and an average gradient of 10.5%, Sega di Ala is one of the hardest tarmac climbs in the whole of Trentino, whose most challenging stretch is located just after the Malga Riondera, where the athletes are faced with a real wall in the middle of the beech forest: 1.8 km at an average gradient of 18.1%, with peaks up to 25%.
A grand finale of a stage destined to write an important page in the next Giro d’Italia, as Simon Yates himself explained: “To be honest, I didn’t expect Sega di Ala to be this tough. There are very steep sections, it’s a climb that can make differences. The previous ascent to San Valentino is also to be handled carefully, and it’s going to weigh on the legs as we get to the finale. I am very happy to have taken this chance and see the course in person, as this might prove crucial for the outcome of the 2021 Giro.”
The Mayor of Ala, Claudio Soini, expressed his satisfaction at Yates’s choice to come and test the stage, right after his TotA success that highlighted his status among the top favorites for the Maglia Rosa. “We can’t wait to welcome the Giro on May 26th, as this will be the first time the Corsa Rosa finishes in Ala, giving us a valuable opportunity to showcase a beautiful area of our territory. We are happy that a champion like Simon Yates has decided to test Sega di Ala climb: it means that the Ala stage is regarded among the most important in the whole Giro d’Italia.”
The President of the Rovereto and Vallagarina Tourist Board, Giulio Prosser, feels honored to host two stages of the upcoming Giro d’Italia in his territory: after the finish in Sega di Ala, the race will restart from Rovereto on Thursday May 27th with the 18th stage, ending in Stradella. “The 17th stage, which crosses almost the whole Vallagarina, will certainly be remembered for its two tough climbs and the spectacular finish on the Lessinia Trentina plateau. On May 27th, the 18th stage will start from the historic center of Rovereto , in front of the MART, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. It will be a great moment for tourism in Vallagarina, an ideal area also for two-wheels champions like Simon Yates”.
Year after year, Trentino has a stablished as a land of top-notch cycling, from the Tour of the Alps to the Giro d’Italia, and this year also with the UCI MTB World Championships in Val di Sole in August and the UEC European Road Championships in Trento in September. “Seeing the great cycling champions stand out at the Tour of the Alps and then prepare the Giro d’Italia makes us proud, – said Trentino Marketing CEO Maurizio Rossini. “As per tradition, Trentino will stage some of the key days of the upcoming Giro d’Italia which will once again offer a global showcase to our territory. The Tour of the Alps has given a beautiful start to a season of great cycling events in Trentino: a long and exciting year of international fixtures that will have our territory constantly in the spotlight until September.“