Mortirolo

Mazzo Di Valtellina, Italy

The Mortirolo is a col with a length of 11.4 kilometer. This is a highest category (HC) col. It is located in Mazzo Di Valtellina, Lombardia, Italy. The average grade of this col is 11% with a maximum of 14.3%. The Mortirolo ascents from 594 meter at the start, to 1.852 meter at the top, with a total of 1.258 ascending meters.

Profile

Mortirolo Profile

Facts

Distance 11.4 km
Elevation gain 1258 m
Average grade 11 %
Maximum grade 14.3 %
Climb category HC
Minimum elevation 594 m
Maximum elevation 1852 m

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Description

This high mountain pass in the Italian Alps is one of the legendary climbs in the Giro d’Italia. Originally created for farmers, it is very narrow and includes punishing 18 percent grades. This is the legendary side. The Mortirolo Pass has featured several times in the Giro d'Italia, usually as the last or penultimate climb before the finish. The first time was in Stage 15 of the 1990 Giro d'Italia, between Morbegno and Aprica, starting from Edolo. Due to the steepness of the descent and the crashes that were occurring, the organizers decided to climb this mountain starting from Mazzo in subsequent years.

Then came 1994, the year when both the Mortirolo and Marco Pantani – two matching, twin stories – ultimately became legends. June 5 was the day of the Merano-Aprica stage, with the Stelvio, Mortirolo and Santa Cristina climbs scheduled in order. The Pirate, who was only 24 at that time, attacked along the punishing slopes of the second climb, at over 60 kilometres out. He dropped Indurain, Bugno, Chiappucci and the Maglia Rosa Berzin, soloing over the top. He waited for Indurain in the flat stretch before the final ascent, where he took off again – this time for good – dashing to the line to take stage victory and the second place on GC. In 2006, a sculpture was placed at the 8th kilometre of the Mortirolo to commemorate that accomplishment. Pantani is portrayed attacking, his hands in a low grip on the handlebars, looking back at his defeated opponents.

Since the death of Marco Pantani, stages of the Giro d'Italia that use the Mortirolo, feature a special prize to the first rider to the top, called Cima Pantani.

- In 2010, Chris Froome was famously disqualified from the Giro d'Italia after hanging onto a motorbike.
- In 2015, Contador famously bridged a gap to his main rivals Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa, having lost time due to a puncture on the descent from Aprica.

Lance Armstrong said of the Mortirolo, “It’s a terrible climb…it’s perfect for a mountain bike. On the hardest parts, I was riding a 39×27 and I was hurting, really hurting. (Mortirolo) is the hardest climb I’ve ever ridden.” Lucho Herrera referred to the Mortirolo as being the "Queen climb of Europe".

- Giro d'Italia 2019 - Stage 16