Roads to Ride: Blockhaus

Think of a mountain range used by the Giro and the Alps surely come to mind. The Apennines are the poorer cousins and all the more interesting for it. This central ridge, the spine of Italy, includes many good climbs and the Blockhaus is one of the hardest on Italy, not just in the Apennines but as challenging as anything in the Alps. The stats are comparable to Mont Ventoux, the reality is even more of a challenge.

This post was first put online in 2017 ahead of the Giro’s visit, it’s been updated for the 2022 return.

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We’ll Always Have Sanremo

There’ll be a light tailwind on the Poggio today. Even if the race is not happening it’s important in a small way to think of these places and the people there.

In the absence of the race if you want something to read about it, the history, the places around it and more here are a few pieces from the past…

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The Moment Lombardia Was Won

In the late autumnal sunshine on the Civiglio climb Bauke Mollema’s attacked and quickly got a gap as the pre-race picks hesitate, each privately hoping someone else would close him down. On a day when the sports headlines were dominated by Eliud Kipchoge’s paced marathon run, here was Lombardia reminding us that cycling is a relative contest rather than a test of absolute performance.

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Lombardia Preview

The long season draws to an end and there’s a final flourish this weekend with Il Lombardia this Saturday and the bonus Paris-Tours on Sunday. There’s an autumnal feel as the leaves begin to turn across Europe and still the chance for several riders to define their seasons. Egan Bernal and Primož Roglič can end their triumphant seasons, a win here could settle who has had the better year. Michael Woods is in form to deliver a big result, Alejandro Valverde has never won this race and there’s plenty of contenders for this lively race.

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The Mountain Passes of Italy

The Giro continues its foray in to the Alps and tackles the Colle San Carlo today, literally the “Saint Charles Pass”. But isn’t passo the word for a mountain pass in Italy? Yes, it’s the standard terms however Italy, probably more than any other country, has many words for a mountain pass. In English “pass” is widespread, maybe there’s a “gap” here or a “saddle” there, but there are few synonyms. Italy has so many we can go from A-Z and the names often tell a story.

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Roads to Ride: Montoso

The first big climb of the 2019 Giro d’Italia, the climb to Montoso features on Stage 12 from Cuneo to Pinerolo so here’s a closer look. It’s a brute and a lesson to study the route more closely, but also a road to nowhere, or perhaps to the past and Italy’s better days.

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Milan-Sanremo Preview

This Saturday’s Milan-Sanremo is all about is tense finish, the paradox of the longest race of the year that’s often decided in the final metres, a race where every pedal stroke counts and the list of contenders and pretenders is long as grand tour contenders, classics specialists and sprinters start with ambitions. Who will ride the perfect race?

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Roads to Ride: Colle San Carlo

A challenging climb that’s part scenic detour, part gymnasium. Off the radar for years, it’s on the route of the 2019 Giro and a rival to the likes of the Mortirolo and Mont du Chat thanks to its relentless gradient and length.

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The Moment Milan-Sanremo Was Won

Vincenzo Nibali, Poggio 2018 Milan Sanremo

They’ve no government following indecisive elections, they’ve no team left in the World Tour but Italy can still count on Vincenzo Nibali. His attack on the Poggio won him the race and brought the first home victory in Sanremo since 2006.

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