Why the Giro is now harder than the Tour
For many many years the Giro (Tour of Italy) was considered the “easier tour” , the “warm up” race , always in the shadows of the Tour deFrance. The Giro always suffered from “being the bridesmaid , never the bride.” The Tour de France is still the biggest race in the world. But it is no longer the “hardest” nor the most difficult. In my opinion, I think the Giro D’Italia in the last decade is in fact the harder race. The Tour de France has become more commercial where the Italians have stayed true to their racing heritage and the organization has continued to do a better job amidst whatever the UCI claim in their bogus rankings and wildcards.
It has much more difficult days in the mountains with similar elevations and peaks like this one, reaching over 9000ft with this kind of steepness. Its unbelievably tough on the human body. This is why I don’t think we’ll ever see another double ever again. Double , meaning winning both the Giro and the Tour de france in the same year. The last time it was done , was back in 1987, Stephen Roche was the winner.
From these photos alone, showing part of a mountain stage, THE STELVIO PASS, one can tell how steep and difficult the mountain stages of Italy are. Wow! That is crazy gradient ! The GAVIA PASS is just as hard. You can see someone going down it in the first photo. From a town called Prato, the Stelvio has 48 punishing hairpin turns that really make it difficult for the riders. Cresting this summit riders really feel the lack of oxygen as the air is so thin and regularly face drastic weather conditions in few hairpins. One of the upcoming years, I’m looking forward to 2-3 hours of this kind of madness.