Gruber Gallery: Colle delle Finestre Preview

    Ashley and Jered Gruber headed to the Finestre ahead of the race’s Cima Coppi. The scenes they captured as they climbed the mighty mountain will look distinctly different on Friday when they’re crowded with fans and full of colorful jerseys. Jered’s words below foreshadow the anticipated emotion.

    It’s hard to believe that it has been 13 years since we were first treated to one of cycling’s greatest climbs, the Colle delle Finestre. Since that first wild dramatic onslaught by Rujano, Di Luca, and Simoni in an ultimately vain attempt to unseat Paolo Savoldelli, the race has featured in 2011, 2015, and for the fourth time in its short history, this Friday.

    The stats on the Colle delle Finestre put it among some of the most difficult in the world – not because of its massive average percentage, but because of its hard grade over a long, long way.

    It’s 17.8 kilometers and gains 1,683 meters – giving it an average right around 9% (and don’t forget: the last seven kilometers are dirt!).

    The Finestre is one of those truly special climbs that is not only an amazing road for a bike race – producing the tales of future cycling lore – but is also a truly magical place to go back and experience with your own two legs. It’s hard, but gives back generously.

    The Finestre is always difficult, but this year’s huge winter and cool, wet spring have left the last seven kilometers wet. The already difficult final seven kilometers are smoother than normal, but that comes at the price of riding through wet dirt, which feels approximately like riding through peanut butter. The wet road has made an already difficult climb just that little bit worse.