Gee! Monte Bondone, how big it was in the history of the Giro. Who doesn’t remember that stage? To review the highlights, one needs to rummage in YouTube. The sound commentary of the Settimana Incom was “One night on the Bald Mount” just to keep a low profile. In a flickering black and white, under the rain and snow, one can see Fantini, Magni, Fornara and the “giant” Gaul, who crosses the finish line in a state of “trance”.
This time the Bondone is climbed from the back side, like in a betrayal, as a late revenge of that distant day of 1956. One goes up from Aldeno, in the Adige Valley. However, the main characteristics are not very different from those of the “classic” side with an average equivalent gradient of 6.7%. All in all, this side features a distance of 20.3 kilometres, an elevation gain of 1,373 meters, with peaks of 15% and a stretch, between kilometres 14 and 18 of more than 10%.
Along Strada Provinciale 25, one leaves the valley floor of the Adige, and immediately faces the slopes of the mountain, particularly steep as in many other glacial valleys. After 2 kilometres, one enters the valley of Torrente Arione, a gorge that slides into the mountainous colossus: the view gets narrower, one can see the walls of the Bondone high above. Two illuminated galleries follow. On the first morainic terraces of the hillside, one meets the hamlets of Cimone and the administrative center of Còvelo at kilometre 4. The slope becomes more forgiving: 5-6%. So far the roadway is wide but, after a passage under the rocks it starts shrinking to no more than 4 meters of width with a short steep slope above 8%, peaking at 12.2% at the hairpin bend of the Battistoni hamlet. After the last clot of houses, Cimoneri, at kilometre 6, the road overlooks the Adige again but from a greater height.
One passes through the municipality of Garniga Terme (elev. 810 m, rest area at kilometre 9), with softer, flat-like gradients (1-2%) that will probably enable some of the cyclist left behind to catch up. Easy illusion because after Garniga Vecchia, at kilometre 12, here comes the most demanding stretch: always close to 10% with a peak, at kilometre 16, of 15%: four kilometres of pain! Here the fight could start, in case no team is leading the race. A comfort note: the road signs say the Bondone is 12 kilometres away, but one can subtract 4 kilometres to get to the end of the ascent. The last 3 kilometres, once reached the splendid mountain plateau, are more forgiving. The GPM is placed at elev. 1,575 m, where one meets the road of the Viote, almost flat.
The Bondone will be the second ascent of the day, to get to the finish the riders will still have to face the Passo Durone (elev. 1,020 m) and the final climb of Madonna di Campiglio.